You may have seen an app in the Apple App Store, in App World for Blackberry, or in the Android Marketplace that promises to change traffic signals to green for you. If you've stumbled upon such, you've likely seen the ratings these apps have- virtually everyone calls them garbage and that they don't work- because they don't.
There is, however, a real device that can change traffic signals to green- depending on if traffic signals are equipped to read such signals. One motorist in Carlsbad, California purchased such a device- an electronic piece of equipment for emergency responders that will aide in their quick and safe travel.
The way the device works is that it is mounted on the vehicle of emergency responders- fire and ambulance equipment, typically. As an emergency vehicle approaches a traffic signal, the unit in the vehicle emits a signal to the traffic light. That signal is then sent to the traffic lights operating equipment, telling it to change the signals so that the emergency vehicle will get a green light, ensuring traffic can move to the side of the road instead of clogging the intersection, and so that the vehicle doesn't need to worry as much about cross traffic.
I've seen it myself in person here in the Chicago area- near a hospital. An ambulance was approaching a massive intersection at a busy intersection- 95th and Cicero, just down from Midway Airport- and the traffic light had just turned green in my direction, when it suddenly turned yellow after just a few moments, then red. It gave the ambulance precious time that would have been spent stopping at the light before carefully proceeding, and also cleared traffic that had clogged the ambulances right of way.
So how was the motorist in Carlsbad, CA finally caught? An alert motorist noticed, just as I had, how quickly the light changed, and how short the green light was for cars traveling his left to right. He notified city engineers, according to 10NEWS. An investigation began, and found the motorist was changing dozens of lights with the device. Police eventually caught up with him weeks later and found the device behind the grill of the vehicle. The discovery meant a stiff penalty- as should be the case.
The motorist sure saved some time with his illegal trick, but he'll likely be having to work overtime for the next year to pay for his shortcuts- the citation was for two thousand dollars.
The City of Carlsbad, CA and likely other cities across the nation are searching out additional offenders, and handing out stiff citations for manipulators. Read more from