Herron Keyon Gaston

State Senator

Herron Keyon Gaston

Deputy Majority Leader

Empowering Communities, Driving Change

May 2, 2024

Senator Gaston Leads Passage of Legislation to Protect Bridgeport Kids

Senator Herron Keyon Gaston led passage Tuesday of legislation to enhance student safety by preserving the ability of Connecticut towns and cities to adopt monitoring systems to detect and fine motorists who illegally pass parked school buses.

The bill passed 35 – 1 and will now move to the House for consideration. The legislation was a top priority of Senator Gaston, D-Bridgeport, who proposed the policy in an effort to address concerns raised by his constituents in Bridgeport.

The bill directly responds to data from the city of Bridgeport, which indicated that nearly 10,000 drivers had been recorded illegally passing stopped school buses in the first six months of this academic year.

During a debate on the bill, Senator Gaston said the bill was an important policy to protect the safety and wellbeing of children.

“My heart was deeply troubled when I learned about how many cars went past those school buses and blessedly, no kid was seriously injured or killed,” Senator Gaston said. “I can imagine the hysteria and anxiety that caused for communities like mine.

“Oftentimes, our parents and the folks in our community feel overlooked and I think today they feel that the state of Connecticut is listening to their voices and putting the safety of our young people at the forefront,” Senator Gaston said

Currently, towns and cities have the ability to use technology to fine motorists who illegally pass parked buses under a temporary program, which will sunset on July 1, 2026. The bill allows Connecticut towns and cities the option of continuing to employ cameras to detect motorists who illegally pass a stopped school bus and issue offending drivers a fine of $250.

The fines contemplated by the bill are similar to those adopted by the state of New York, where drivers can be fined between $250 and $400 for illegally passing a school bus on a first offense.

Under the bill, municipalities will retain all of the fines collected, which will be used on initiatives to enhance public safety.

Contact: Hugh McQuaid | Hugh.McQuaid@cga.ct.gov | 860-634-4651