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Red Light Bill Clears Second Hurdle

by Christine Stuart | Apr 18, 2011 8:38pm
(8) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: State Capitol, Transportation

Christine Stuart photo

Rep. Roland Lemar III

A bill that will allow communities of more than 60,000 residents to install red light cameras passed its second committee Monday by a 17 to 2 vote.

The perennial piece of legislation pushed largely by the New Haven community seems to have more support this year than in previous years. However, before the Planning and Development Committee vote Monday, a handful of lawmakers admitted they’re having trouble parsing some of the conflicting data from advocates and lobbyists on either side of the issue.

Rep. Richard Smith, R-New Fairfield, said he understands that the cameras can act as revenue generators and save lives—both good things. And he’s happy to vote for the legislation to get out of committee, but he feels he’s getting too much misinformation and needs to research the issue himself before making a final determination.

Rep. Linda Gentile, D-Ansonia, didn’t disagree with Smith. She said she also has concerns about the bill and may vote against it in the future if she’s not confident municipalities can get the outcomes they’re looking for.

Rep. Roland Lemar III, D-New Haven, who advocated for the legislation before becoming a lawmaker himself, said the communities he represents don’t think of the legislation as a revenue generator.

“We look at the impact it will have on our communities and our lives,” Lemar said.

Lemar, who lives near a dangerous intersection in New Haven right off I-91’s Trumbull Street exit, said drivers know it’s impossible for a police officer to monitor that intersection and take advantage of that. He said cars blow through that intersection continually making it unsafe to pedestrians and bikers.

He said these red light cameras are a way in which citizens can reclaim their streets.

Sen. Eric Coleman, D-Hartford, said he’s voted against this legislation in the past, but he voted for it Monday because advocates of the bill believe it will enhance public safety in their communities.

And even though Sen. Len Fasano, R-North Haven, voted for the bill he maintained reservations about whether it will work. He said he just saw a Today Show report Monday that showed in Broward County, Florida every person who challenged their ticket has won so the revenue the county expected just wasn’t there.

But in that same report an official from North Miami said the cameras have reduced accidents by 60 percent.

Click here to watch the report.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

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(8) Comments

posted by: StarveTheBeast | April 18, 2011  9:19pm

This is a terrible idea. It’s one more way for the Government to monitor every move it’s citizens make, and a foot in the door for future, more intrusive monitoring. How about radar speeding ticket cameras? Headlight or blinker out? Maybe faulty equipment cameras. Connectitax’s legislature needs to work on the HUGE spending and GIGANTIC budget problem!  Focus people!! WE NEED CUTS NOW!!

posted by: lothar | April 19, 2011  12:35am

Cuts Schmuts, Starve. It’s a broken record. The bottom line is that there aren’t enough police officers in the state to police even half the roads here. We have one of the most densely populated states in the nation and people quite simply don’t drive safely anywhere. In fact, drivers seem to think they shouldn’t be held accountable for their behavior behind the wheel at all. It’s ridiculous. It’s dangerous. It’s irresponsible. And it’s something that technology can solve or at least improve upon. Let’s wake up and smell the coffee and make our roads safer. You don’t like gov’t intruding into your life with a speeding ticket or a red light violation? Learn how to drive. Or don’t drive.

Driving is a privilege, not a right. If we can save some money using cameras rather than cops, I’m all for it. Or would you rather cut police jobs and simply make society that much less safe? As it is we’ve got capital punishment sucking the criminal justice system’s funds away without resolution, but yet we want to cut police officers? If you want capital punishment - which is quite simply ridiculous and unaffordable - then you’re going to need to accept some cost-savings elsewhere. Put the cameras up and slow some people down.

posted by: ... | April 19, 2011  1:05am

...

Cannot wait to see this implemented. I think people who poo-poo it won’t even give it a chance to try it out in our state. No state is exactly alike in terms of red-light camera usage and our drivers (and our neighbors) have different mentalities than someone across the country.

If it proves to be counterproductive based on the arguments against it now (false ticketing, excessive court times, increased fender benders, etc.), then the program can be curtailed.

But if this does what proponents argue (shifts police efforts to more important crimes, reduces red-light accidents, more efficiently collects traffic violation fines, etc.) then I’m sure the opposition will take a bow and say they were not completely right.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | April 19, 2011  9:15am

This will not work.Another money grab three card monte.

It’s Official: “Red Light Cameras” Don’t Work
Steve Parker.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-parker/its-official-red-light-ca_b_744775.htm

posted by: lothar | April 19, 2011  9:22am

Starve - I just realized that I may have insinuated that you support capital punishment. There’s a 65-70 percent chance that you do if you’re a CT resident, but I was only using it as an example because it represents a huge cost that essentially takes a lot of police off the streets. If driver behavior is any measure, our law enforcement system is failing.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | April 19, 2011  5:06pm

Check this out.I agree with him.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-parker/its-official-red-light-ca_b_744775.html

posted by: ... | April 19, 2011  8:55pm

...

Glad you agree with him 3/5, but you don’t need to post the same message twice. We got the link the first time.

posted by: nero | April 20, 2011  7:30pm

I’d gladly support traffic-light cameras in New Haven if the funds would got to synchronizing traffic lights to prevent driver frustration at stopping every block for every traffic light.