Traffic Signal Preemption
Forget Your Gadget that Turns Red Lights Green (Traffic Signal Preemption by Emergency Fire Service Vehicles)
Traffic signal preemption is designed to provide an emergency fire service vehicle, while responding to an incident, the ability to preempt a traffic signal in order to have a green light in the direction of the responding vehicle. The signal will preempt to red lights in all other directions. For years only public agencies were able to purchase this equipment.
As the internet grew, websites began selling traffic signal preemption transmitters to anyone and conflict problems started to occur. People buying and selling the devices prompted the federal government to create the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act in August of 2005. It establishes a minimum sentence of 6 months in prison for anyone using the device illegally, and a 1 year sentence for those selling the device illegally.
Washington County has taken additional steps to prevent unauthorized use of these devices. All of the authorized fire equipment and emergency vehicles in Washington County now have a coded signal and the traffic signal itself has a coded receiver. So forget your gadget that turns red lights green because it won't work anymore.