California Motor Vehicle Code 21464
Defacing Traffic Signs
If you are caught defacing a traffic device or traffic sign, you will be ticketed and could receive as much as five-thousand-dollars in fines. If your defacing of the signs or traffic devices causes injuries or death, you may also receive serious jail time.
There are several means of defacing devices such as: placing bumper stickers on signs, spray-painting over them, placing graffiti on traffic devices or road signs, or any other means of damaging or changing the appearance of the device. Any of these measures could cause a driver to become distracted and have an accident.
A mobile infrared transmitter is a device that is capable of changing traffic signals from red to green on demand. These devices are illegal to own, sell, or use. These MITs are easy to find online, but you will face severe penalties if you are caught with one. They are dangerous to have in your possession because the temptation to use the device is too great. This is why it is illegal to own one in California.
The original purpose of the mobile infrared traffic device (MIRT) was to allow emergency vehicles and funeral escorts to change traffic lights ahead of them. Emergency responders cannot always depend on the public to pull to the right and allow them to pass. The use of these mobility devices allows emergency vehicles to change lights ahead of them from red to green so they can arrive at emergencies sooner.
Traffic signals, road signs, and other temporary traffic devices are placed on the streets for the safety of the public. Any changes to these devices could result in serious injuries or death. If a car is involved in an accident as a result of a non-functioning traffic device, the person who altered the device could face serious consequences. For this reason, defacing these devices is a serious offense and will be punished accordingly.