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Does Anyone in Twin Falls Remember the “Horn Activated Traffic System?”

Aggressive driver in car, side view

If you can remember the day the city of Twin Falls launched the ‘Horn Activated Traffic System’, you’ve lived here a very long time.

I remember it, because I was on the planning committee that put it together. Back in the day, radio stations used to pull April Fool’s pranks on April 1st. Radio stunts aren’t as common as the used to be because the fun suckers FCC put a bunch of regulations in place, arguing that pranks were potentially dangerous. The ‘Horn Activated Traffic System’ was one of those stunts.

Our morning show host at the time, was the first to break the “news”. It seems there was a new traffic system that the city was testing. If you came upon a red light, all you had to do was lay on your horn… The HATS system would hear it and promptly change the light to green.

We weren’t prepared for what happened next. Phone calls were flooding the radio station from those claiming that the system was working. “I’m at Kimberly and Locust and it’s working just fine here.” someone said.

I took my car out with the windows rolled down and horns were blaring at every intersection. And those who weren’t listening didn’t know what the heck was happening. (This was before social media, kids.)

In the end, someone finally called us out as April Fool’s pranksters and normal life resumed.

Thanks for letting me share a fond memory. Do you remember this? And if you don’t mind, help me with the year, I’d appreciate it.  I’m thinking it was 1998 but I’m not sure.


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