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Lawmakers propose increased fine for failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalk

A piece of legislation increasing the fines for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and failure to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian or cyclist is being considered by the General Assembly.  The Judiciary Committee forwarded the bill this week for further action. 


The legislation would require that the money from the fine be sent to the municipality in which the violation occurred.  The bill increases the fine to $500. 


Newtown State Representative Mitch Bolinsky is one of the co-sponsors of the measure.


Danbury state Senator Mike McLachlan spoke during a public hearing on the bill about an accident involving a person being struck and killed by a car at the crosswalk on White Street in Danbury by the midtown campus of Western Connecticut State University.  The City, State and University worked together to come up with ways to reduce pedestrian-car accidents. 


One of the ideas was to install flashing orange lights when someone pushes the crosswalk button.  McLachlan says that was approved by the state Department of Transportation and seems to be the most progressive way to deal with safety.  He would like to see the technology installed at every crosswalk, but acknowledged that it is cost prohibitive.


New Fairfield Representative Richard Smith also spoke during the earlier public hearing.  He noted there's one crosswalk in town from a parking lot to town hall, which he uses frequently.  Smith says he naturally waits, but has found that most cars don't stop and go by pretty fast.


Smith says most drivers disregard the fact that they need to stop at a crosswalk when there is a pedestrian waiting, and no traffic signal.

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