"mert" or "mirt"


#1

WHAT IS A “MERT” OR “MIRT” RECENTLY MENTIONED IN ONE OF THESE DISCUSSIONS? IT WAS IN THE DISCUSSION ABOUT TURNING OFF VEHICLE ENGINE AT RED LIGHTS. SAID SOMETHING ABOUT BEING AVAILABLE AT RADIO SHACK.


#2

A MIRT is a Mobile InfaRed Transmitter. They’re attached to the front of emergency vehicles (and in some cities, busses) and transmit a signal that can be read by a sensor on the traffic light. When the signal electronics senses the signal from the MIRT, it gives that direction of travel priority and turns the light green that direction. Of course the shiestery thing to do would be to mount one of these on your own personal vehicle, due to the fact that your time is more important than everyone else’s.

A casual web-search seems to show them being sold from some shady-looking websites. I’m sure they’re probably illegal to own, and almost certainly illegal to use. The Radio Shack mention may mean that you can make one out of components you can buy there or perhaps it harkens back to a days when Radio Shack used to sell some shady devices. It used to be that Radio Shack was the only place you could buy radar detectors, back before people were even sure if they were legal. You also used to be able to buy autodialers and all sorts of other now-illegal telecommunications equipment. It’s entirely possible that in the 80’s Radio Shack sold some sort of “turn the light green” device.

Incidentally, some older signal systems just used the visible light of the emergency vehicle and even today, sometimes you can make the light change by blinking your high-beams.


#3

These devices are illegal to use in Ontario, Canada, but not illegal to own, hence the confusion: “Well if it’s illegal then why can I buy it at Radio Shack, etc.?” Same thing with tinted/coloured licence plate covers.


#4

I’m the foolish poster who mentioned it last but I don’t know a lot about them. I recently switched to premium gasoline too so consider the source.