New technology can detect devices that change traffic signals - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New technology can detect devices that change traffic signals

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CARLSBAD (CNS) - The City of Carlsbad says it is using new traffic signal technology to crack down on the use of equipment that turns red lights green.

About two weeks ago, city transportation staff contacted police after an irregularity with traffic signals was noted, according to police spokeswoman Jodee Sasway. Traffic engineers found that motorists appeared to have used illegal signal preemption devices to change the lights, she said.

A driver was cited March 27 for possession of one of the devices at a traffic signal on Armada Drive. Sasway said the fine for the violation of the state Vehicle Code would start at $2,000.

"The signal preemption sensor is only legally used by the Fire Department during an emergency response, changing the lights to green and speeding a lifesaving response," said city Traffic Engineer Bryan Jones.

He said the misuse of the sensor changes the normal cycle of the traffic and can disrupt the flow for six to eight minutes, which can cause traffic to back up.

However, the city has a new traffic management center which is a computerized traffic signal system with cameras to detect vehicles at intersections, Sasway said. When needed, traffic engineers could use the cameras to watch how vehicles triggering the sensors as well as how well a signal was servicing an intersection, she said.

"Anyone thinking of using these devices should know that with this new technology, we can track you, and the Police Department will be enforcing this law," said police Cpl. Robert Shelton.

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