April 20, 2022

Senator Haskell Cuts Traffic

This week, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport), Senate Chair of the Transportation Committee, led the Senate’s approval of legislation that would address traffic congestion in Connecticut, helping constituents get where they need to go. The bill would ensure law enforcement officials are trained in traffic management techniques and increase the deployment of drones to avoid extended lane closures.

“Connecticut residents know a thing or two about traffic. In fact, drivers in the Stamford area experience some of the worst congestion in the country, spending an average of 74 hours idling on the road and forgoing $1,095 per capita,” said Sen. Haskell. “This bill will help get Connecticut moving again, saving the folks we serve time, money, and perhaps some headaches. I want to especially thank Vitalij, a project engineer at the Department of Transportation who enjoyed learning about drones during his off time. He took that knowledge into work one day and volunteered to help the Department use drones to conduct complex inspection work. In the months that followed, he trained other pilots to operate a fleet of drones, saving taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars and avoiding unnecessary road closures each time engineers need an up-close look under bridges, over highways and atop high wires. The state police have even begun using drones to collect data quickly after major accidents, then clear the roadway and alleviate traffic. We should be doing more of this 21st work, and I’m proud that this bill will formalize drone deployment and build on the project that Vitalij started.”

Senate Bill 389, “An Act Concerning Traffic Mitigation,” makes two changes to traffic management law, including:

  • By the end of 2022, the Police Officer Standards and training, or POST, Council will work with the Department of Transportation to develop a traffic incident management curriculum for police officers, which must align with Federal
  • Highway Administration training and provide for a systematic, planned and coordinated approach for responding to and clearing traffic incidents to safely and efficiently restore traffic capacity; by October 2023, police basic or review training programs will include the curriculum.
  • By October 2022, the Department of Transportation and Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection commissioners will need to develop plans to expand the use of drones for inspection of vehicle accidents and traffic accidents and for inspection of existing transportation facilities.

Use of drones will be key to increase the efficiency of accident surveying and infrastructure inspection, allowing for vital information to be collected accurately without deploying staff and shutting down traffic. This legislation passed the Senate with a bipartisan 34-2 vote.