Christine Cohen

State Senator

Christine Cohen

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Listening, Advocating & Getting Results

June 8, 2023

Sen. Cohen Leads Passage of Vision Zero Legislation

HARTFORD, CT – Senate Transportation Chair, State Senator Christine Cohen led passage of legislation aimed at reducing the number of traffic fatalities in Connecticut to zero. HB 5917 An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Vision Zero Council implements a number of traffic safety provisions and studies, at a time where crashes and traffic fatalities are on the rise.

2022 has been the deadliest year on our roadways in decades. Last year, there were 239 driver or passenger fatalities, an increase of 41.5% over the last 5 years. There were 75 pedestrian fatalities which is an increase of 31% over the last 5 years.

“Connecticut has seen an extremely concerning increase in traffic fatalities, but as a committee, we are committed to reversing this trend,” said Sen. Cohen. “The Vision Zero Council has been hard at work and provided us with important policy recommendations that we deliberated and ultimately we brought forward many of those in this legislation. I look forward to implementing these great policies and continuing to work with the Council to reach our shared goal of zero serious, traffic-related injuries or deaths.”

Studying the “Idaho Stop” And No Right on Red – Requires DOT to study (1) allowing a bicycle rider to treat a stop sign as a yield sign and red light as a stop sign, also known as the “Idaho Stop”and (2) prohibiting right turns on red; Automated Enforcement – Allows municipalities to use speed cameras and red light cameras to enforce traffic laws. Planned usage of these cameras must be approved by the municipality, as well as DOT every three years. This bill requires DOT to provide guidance to municipalities in developing plans and selecting locations; additionally it includes provisions on public participation and notice, camera operation, fine revenue use, violation enforcement, and data privacy, among others; Intersection Control Evaluation Policy – Requires DOT to adopt and revise an intersection control evaluation policy to use when evaluating new and existing intersections; Vision Zero Program Distinction for School Programs – Requires DOT to award an exemplary “Vision Zero” program distinction to local and regional boards of education offering programs to students in grades 6 to 12 about safe driving habits, pedestrian safety skills, and the mission of the Vision Zero Council; Safety Course After Traffic Violations – Allows prosecutorial officials to require people who contest infractions and certain violations to attend an approved driving safety course as a condition for resolving the ticket before a hearing; Safety Video and Materials at License Renewal and Issuance to New Residents – Requires DMV to develop a safety video and require people to watch them upon every other renewal and when transferring a license from another jurisdiction and to provide other safety materials to people transferring a license from another jurisdiction; Public Awareness Campaign on Drug Impaired Driving – Requires DOT to conduct a public awareness campaign about the dangers of driving while under the influence of certain over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs, with an emphasis on opioids and cannabis; DOT Five-Year Capital Plan and Equity Proposals – Requires DOT, when developing its next five-year capital plan, to examine proposals from the Vision; Zero Council’s equity subcommittee and consider infrastructure that specifically protects vulnerable highway users; Seat Belt Promotion – Requires DOT to establish a program promoting seat belt use among vulnerable communities that are less likely to wear a seat belt

The interagency Vision Zero Council was established in 2021 and was charged with developing a statewide policy to eliminate all transportation-related fatalities and severe injuries to pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, drivers, and passengers.