NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Curbing dangerous behavior on Connecticut roads is one of the goals behind a bill awaiting Gov. Ned Lamont’s signature.
Vision Zero passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan support, but there’s been some push-back.
“Given the concerns about traffic safety over the past couple of years, it got to the point that something else had to be done,” House Majority Leader Jason Rojas (D – East Hartford, Manchester) said.
Cities and towns can increase traffic enforcement through speed and red light cameras if it becomes law. Go too fast or run a red light, and you’ll receive an automated ticket.
“This is going to be an opportunity to help address that and make our roads safer,” Garrett Eucalitto, the commissioner of the Department of Transportation, said.
Eucalitto said the cameras wouldn’t be placed just anywhere. It has to be in a school or a pedestrian safety zone where data supports a history of crashes.
“The way the legislature drafted it is all the money has to go back to the safety aspects of their transportation system,” Eucalitto said. “Building out safer infrastructure, sidewalks, improving intersections.”
New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson said this would help.
“A lot of bad fatalities, multiple injury incidents develop from people running red lights,” Jacobson said. “During and after the pandemic, we saw everyone blowing red lights.”
Critics of the bill are concerned about privacy and said it would disproportionately impact communities of color.
The ACLU of Connecticut released a statement to News 8, saying.
“We remain skeptical of red light cameras because of their potential to increase policing, including racist targeting of black and brown communities. We will be monitoring the bill’s implementation if it becomes law.”
Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut NAACP, echoed those concerns recently on News 8’s Capitol Report.
“People then get boots on their cars, and then it puts them in more poverty where they can’t get to work,” Esdaile said. “It creates conflict within police and the cities.”
Eucalitto hopes this will help make the cities safer, where he says many dangerous driving is happening. He also said it’s not a money grab. Instead, the money would go toward communities to help make roads safer.
Lamont’s office told News 8 that they’d review the final language before the governor decides.