Legislatures Consider Changes in Transportation Safety in CT, Nationwide

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is tracking legislation on a range of traffic safety subjects that have been introduced in the 50 states and the District of Columbia – and is providing updates on the organization’s website.  The site reflects 14 proposed bills in Connecticut, being considered in the General Assembly session that began last month.   Traffic safety topics being tracked nationwide include: Aggressive Driving, Automated Enforcement/Photo Monitoring, Child Passenger Protection, Distracted Driving, Driver’s Licensing, Impaired Driving, Motorcycle Safety, Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety, School Bus Safety, Seatbelts and Occupant Protection, Senior Drivers Issues, Slow-Medium speed vehicles, Speed Limits, and Teen Driver Issues.

Among the proposals being considered in Connecticut is one that would require three-point seat safety belts for school buses and require passengers of a school bus to wear seat safety belts.  A similar proposal would require three-point seat safety belts for school buses that are model year 2019 or newer.  NCSL reports that 20 state legislatures are considering a variety of school bus safety proposals. 

Three proposals would increase fines for distracted driving offenses, including texting or using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving, and one calls for additional funds to be appropriated to the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to “combat distracted driving.”  Connecticut is one of 14 states that have seen distracted driving bills suggested. 

Legislative proposals also include one that would mandate the use of helmets by motorcycle operators and passengers, and another that would regulate the operation of high-speed and low-speed electric bicycles in the state. Twenty-six states in addition to Connecticut have motorcycle safely proposals under consideration.

Members of the legislature’s Planning and Development Committee will consider proposals that call for modifications to urban street design guidelines, in order to “improve the safety, economic life and vibrancy of urban streets.”

Among the nation’s states, the largest number of legislative proposals relate to impaired driving, followed by motorcycle safety, pedestrian and bike safety, drivers licensing, drivers licensing, and school bus safety.

Forty-seven states have begun their 2017 legislative sessions.