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Opticon-toting driver gets $50 fine for changing traffic light

Marc Perton
04.18.06
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We hate waiting for traffic lights to change as much the next driver (or pedestrian -- we have to cross streets, too, you know), but we doubt we'd ever try to take things into our own hands like Jason Niccum of Longmont, Colorado, did. Niccum picked up an Opticon -- an infrared light used by firefighters and other emergency responders to trigger traffic signals -- on eBay for about $100, and has been using it to cut his commuting time. That is, was using it, until local cops busted him after they noticed a consistent pattern of traffic-light disruptions at certain intersections. They nailed Niccum, and the town now plans to change the frequency used by traffic lights to block unauthorized signals (until, that is, someone comes out with a next-gen model). Niccum, despite getting stuck with a $50 fine, isn't exactly remorseful. "I guess in the two years I had it, that thing paid for itself," he told a local newspaper.

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