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Hartford City Council introduces red-light camera resolution

If launched, the pilot program would not ticket drivers who run through red lights, but rather send them a warning notice.

HARTFORD, Conn. — The Hartford City Council is taking steps toward getting red light cameras up in the capital city.

Council members, at a Monday evening meeting, introduced a resolution that calls on the Connecticut State Legislature to authorize the red light camera pilot program on streets soon.

Officials say it's all part of an effort to increase public safety in the city, which has a large population of pedestrians, many of whom are fed up with reckless drivers.

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“They’re not obeying traffic lights, they’re not obeying stop signs, they’re not obeying stop lines,” Councilman John Gale told FOX61.

If launched, the pilot program would not ticket drivers who run through red lights, but rather send them a warning notice. Fines would also not be implemented until after the pilot period.

Gale said this is a first step in the process.

“This is not a revenue generating effort—the real goal in all of this is just to get people to behave better, be respectful of each other,” Gale added.

Red light cameras reduce fatal collisions of this kind by 21%, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The resolution comes after community leaders called for action on the issue, according to Council President Maly D. Rosado.

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“I came into this office with the goal of improving the quality of life for our families and increasing public safety within our neighborhoods. For too long people have come into our city and disregarded our laws," Rosado said. "Red light cameras do not discriminate based on race or income. Nationally, they reduce fatal interactions with law enforcement. More importantly, they decrease intersection collisions and unnecessary loss of life."

But, not everyone is in support of the proposal. The Greater Hartford NAACP opposes red light cameras, saying that they disproportionately impact racial minorities and low-income communities.

In a statement to Mayor Bronin and the council, the organization asked for them to "consider the inherent unfairness of red-light cameras and the unequal impact on Hartford neighborhoods and to reject this resolution."

Officials said the city would collect statistics from specific intersections to design a fully realized program that is equitable, data-driven, and sustainable, according to a release.

In order to make red light cameras a reality, the proposal would need to go through the state legislature.

Rosado also noted that it's pertinent for Hartford residents to be educated on the pilot program.

"Tickets will not be sent out and violators will not be immediately fined but folks should be educated about the steps the city is taking to curb reckless driving behaviors," he added.

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“Current state law does not allow cities or towns to use red light cameras or speed cameras,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said. “I will tell you, I’ve heard from a lot of residents who would like to have red light cameras or speed cameras and so if the City Council decides that they’re gonna pass the ordinance—the resolution that they’re considering today, then I would look forward to working with them to advocate for it on behalf of our community.”

No decision was made at Monday nights City Council meeting. The plan was sent to the Public Safety Committee and would come back the council, if the committee moves it forward.

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