WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Waterbury could be the first city in the state to have red light cameras.
The General Assembly’s Public Safety and Security Committee held a public meeting on the topic at the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon.
They are currently illegal in Connecticut but neighboring states like New York and Rhode Island said they’ve had success. At a public hearing at the state capitol Tuesday, legislators heard from supporters and opponents.
Some Waterbury residents gave automatic traffic safety enforcement devices a green light.
“I think it’s a good idea because there’s just so many crazy people driving around these days,” said Kristen Vinciguerra of Waterbury.
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While others said not so fast.
“Not us first, give us a break,” said Dexter Wilson of Waterbury.
Support was split, but Waterbury’s top cop said it was time to act.
“This will help in reducing traffic accidents,” Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said. “A national study done by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety Bureau showed automatic traffic light enforcement reduced fatal red light running crashes by 21%.”
Motor Transport Association of Connecticut President John Blai said he’s more concerned about the risks these cameras would bring than the benefits like people slamming on their brakes to avoid a ticket or speeding up.
“I’m not so sure what safety measures they are talking about, I think it does just the opposite,” Blair said.
A University of South Florida study found a 40% increase in crashes at red light camera intersections.
The proposal would ticket drivers who drive through a red light $50 for the first offense; the second would be $75.
“People are getting hit by cars left and right and people are in such a rush so I think it would be a good waking-up point getting that $50 fine in the mail,” Vinciguerra said.
If approved the Waterbury police chief wants to bring ten red light cameras to Waterbury in busy problem intersections and school zones.
Fines would start October 1st.