Man Fined for Writing 'I Am An Engineer'

An electronics engineer says he found a flaw in traffic lights. The Oregon engineering board fined him for it.

In September 2014, Mats Järlström, an electronics engineer living in Beaverton, Oregon, sent an email to the state's engineering board. 

The email claimed that yellow traffic lights don't last long enough, which "puts the public at risk." "I would like to present these facts for your review and comments," he wrote.

This email resulted not with a meeting, but with a threat. The Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying responded with this dystopian message: "ORS 672.020(1) prohibits the practice of engineering in Oregon without registration … at a minimum, your use of the title 'electronics engineer' and the statement 'I'm an engineer' … create violations."

In January 2017, Järlström was officially fined $500 by the state for the crime of "practicing engineering without being registered."

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