Senator Kissel Opposes Traffic Light Legislation

May 11, 2005

Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield) has expressed his opposition to legislation that would allow cities and towns to mount cameras on traffic lights in an effort to catch violators running red lights. Senator Kissel, who spoke out in opposition to and voted against the bill when it came before the Judiciary Committee last month, said that the intrusiveness of such a measure outweighs its potential safety benefits.

“This idea seems to me more like Big Brother than effective public policy,” said Senator Kissel, who serves as the Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee. “Although there may be some salutary safety benefits to the proposal, they are far outweighed by the intrusive nature of this legislation. There are a variety of alternative ways to promote safer driving without making citizens feel as if they are being spied on.”

“The precedent this law would set is troublesome, as well,” continued Senator Kissel. “If we give the towns the ability to put cameras on traffic lights, what would stop government in the future from installing cameras outside our highway entrances and exits? Some people think we should all have E-Z passes to use our highways and we’ll get a monthly bill for our travels. I certainly would oppose that.”

Senator Kissel also pointed out the potential for towns to take advantage of this legislation.

“In the eyes of municipal governments, this legislation may also be a way to raise local revenues,” added Senator Kissel. “Since this bill would reallocate all revenue derived from these particular traffic fines directly to municipalities, it is possible that a few towns and cities would install cameras with an eye to raise revenue as well as promote safety.”

The bill, sHB 5744 An Act Concerning Enforcement of Speeding and Traffic Control Signal Violations, was reported favorably out of the Judiciary Committee. It now awaits action by the Committee on Transportation.