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New device has officials seeing red, drivers seeing green

November 6, 2003
By: Aidian Holder
State Capital Bureau

Tired of sitting in traffic, waiting for the light to turn green? A new device promises to ease your misery, but as Aidian Holder reports, traffic planners and public safety officials say the cure is worse than the disease.

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For the better part of a decade, cities and counties have been installing devices on traffic signals that allow fire engines, police cars and ambulances to control traffic lights in their way, ensuring that a steady stream of green lights help speed them on their way when responding to an emergency.

But now a Minnesota company has produced a knock-off of the transmitter, and they promise that for 300 bucks you too can control traffic.

Public safety officers say this could cause gridlock and maybe even deaths, and Osage Beach fire chief Kevin Rucker says it could make cities abandon the systems altogether.

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Contents: Rucker says losing the systems because of this would be a blow to public safety.

Most smaller districts don't use the systems, but large parts of both St. Louis and Kansas City do.

In Jefferson City, I'm Aidian Holder