Senate Gives Final Legislative Approval to Steeper Fines for Failure to Obey Crossing Guards

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Failure to heed a school crossing guard\’s signal could cost motorists a bit more, under a bill given final legislative approval by the state Senate on Tuesday.

House Bill 5117 establishes a fine of $450 for offenders who fail to bring their vehicles to a stop when directed to do so by a crossing guard. The previous penalty for that offense ranged from $100 to $500.

The measure also empowers crossing guards to report the license plate numbers and other information to the police. It was unanimously approved by the House on May 1 and now goes to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for consideration.

Supporters of the bill, which was approved by consent, say it will enhance public safety. But some lawmakers who backed the measure nevertheless expressed concerns about the size of the fines.

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Sen. Kevin Witkos, a Republican from Canton and retired town police officer, said the fines will be even higher with the addition of court costs. The large penalty could deter police from writing tickets, he said.

\”That is one hefty fine,\” Witkos said. \”I have a feeling that you\’ll see more written warnings than actual infractions being given out to folks.\”

But Sen. L. Scott Frantz, R-Greenwich, said public safety is paramount.

\”We\’re talking about the safety of our children, our youth,\’\’ Frantz said. \”When there is a large fee…yes, there does have to be a balance [but] when you put a big fine like that out there, it is talked about.\’\’

Frantz noted that in Switzerland, speeders have to pay a portion of their personal income — a penalty that has greatly discouraged speeding, he said.

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