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Lawmakers considering Vision Zero recommendations for traffic safety

2022 was the deadliest year on Connecticut roadways in decades

CONNECTICUT, USA — Last year was the deadliest on Connecticut roads in decades. 239 drivers or passengers were killed and 75 pedestrians according to DOT commissioner Garrett Eucalitto.

"Safety needs to be our priority. People deserve to feel safe," said State Sen. Christine Cohen, co-chair of transportation committee.

The committee is considering a bill that aims to do that.

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The state’s “Vision Zero Council” is made up of commissioners from different state agencies. It was created in 2021 with the mindset that even one traffic-related death is too many. They came up with more than a dozen recommendations that make up that bill.

Some of those include, making it illegal for a passenger to have an open container of alcohol, creating a fatal collision reduction team, requiring people to watch a video on new traffic laws before they’re able to renew their license and expanding bike lanes.

"Whatever makes people safer. You just have to design an infrastructure leads to safety," said Jennifer Glass of Branford.

She said she is new to learning about pedestrian and bike safety issues, after her husband John Bysiewicz was hit by a car back in November.

"Unfortunately got hit by somebody who was impaired in some way and crossed the yellow line and hit him," Glass said.

A life-long athlete and longtime race director, his life was forever changed. He has spent months recovering after needing to have his leg amputated below the knee.

Advocates say there are many like him who are at risk when out on the roads.

"I think far too often we see this as being an issue that is just one thing," said Kate Rozen of Woodbridge. "It’s an onion of issues. So for us to be able to make meaningful changes to keep people safe, it’s looking at our road designs and slowing down traffic with road diets," she said.

Another part of the bill also calls for red light and speed cameras.

"We would be looking particularly at school zones and pedestrian safety zones for installing these speed and red light cameras," Cohen said.

It’s a proposal that has come up in previous years but is often met with opposition.

"Constant monitoring by law enforcement is really something that is unbecoming of free people. And Connecticut residents shouldn’t be treated as presumptive law breakers subject to ongoing government surveillance," said Carol Platt Liebau, president of the Yankee Institute.

The bill is still in the early stages. The transportation committee will take into consideration what was said at Monday's public hearing on the bill and make changes as it sees fit.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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