Connecticut lawmakers OK ice cream truck safety bill spurred by Wallingford boy’s death [Hartford Courant]

April 16, 2021

From the Hartford Courant:

The Connecticut Senate voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of a bipartisan bill that would improve safety around ice cream trucks following a tragic accident last year.

The bill requires ice cream truck owners to install safety equipment that includes flashing lights, caution signs, signal arms and front convex mirrors. It would also prohibit ice cream sellers from stopping in high-traffic areas.

The legislation was prompted by the experience of the family of 10-year-old Tristan Barhorst of Wallingford, who was struck and killed by a car after heading to an ice cream truck in Cheshire. On a summer day on the last day of school on June 12, 2020, Barhorst and his friends headed toward the truck when they heard the jingle in their neighborhood. As the first child in line, Tristan purchased a SpongeBob SquarePants pop.

But when he was heading back home, a Jeep Wrangler driven by a 17-year-old struck and killed him.

Sen. Will Haskell, a Westport Democrat, thanked the “unbelievably brave and unbelievably compassionate parents” of Tristan, who advocated for the bill’s passage.

“Hopefully, we can prevent further loss,” Haskell said on the Senate floor. “This is one of those special days in the legislature when we can be proud that our government is responding in a bipartisan way. … I’m thinking about Tristan and all those young people as I cast my vote in favor of this legislation.”

The measure passed by a 33-0 vote with three senators absent.

Sen. Saud Anwar, a South Windsor Democrat who is also a medical doctor, said lawmakers are “hoping to be able to protect children in the future.’’

Sen. Paul Cicarella, a North Haven Republican, said the bill “could possibly save other children.’’

“Connecticut is one of the few surrounding states that did not have any real regulations to protect the children,” Cicarella said. “Out of such a terrible accident, good can come of it.”