WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) – Waterbury wants to be the first city in Connecticut to test red light cameras, with New Haven and Hartford right behind them. It has to be approved by lawmakers first.
A Waterbury lawmaker has already submitted a bill asking permission for the Brass City to test red light cameras on their streets.
“It’s a problem,” said Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary. “People are dying out there. It seemed to get an awful lot of interest very quickly, and the mayor of New Haven and the mayor of Hartford are very interested in jumping on as well.”
Mayor Neil O’Leary says they need something to help bring traffic back into control and reset the wild West driving mentality developed during the pandemic.
“A lot of these crashes are caused by erratic driving, distracted driving and people just out and aren’t obeying the law, especially in the cities,” O’Leary said.
“People drive insanely, and we just don’t have enough cops to be able to pull people over,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker.
There are still a lot of details to be worked out including what if the registered driver isn’t the one driving? Or, what happens if you go through a yellow light?
Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) say there is a legitimate issue with pedestrian safety in Connecticut, but red light cameras are not the answer.
“If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find that many municipalities pulled out of red light camera operations because oftentimes, they are not leading to safer outcomes, resulting in more rear-end collisions,” said Attorney David McGuire, ACLU. “We know these are also disproportionately put in Black and Brown communities acting essentially as another tax.”
The decision will be made at the Capitol.
“It will have to pass through the legislature, and right now, I think people aren’t really decided at this time,” said Senator Saud Anwar. “I think the community is leaning towards not doing it.”
In other states that do use them and have had some success, lawmakers will look at those states to see what works and what doesn’t.