Public Act 21-20 in Connecticut set new equipment and operating requirements for “frozen dessert trucks” (commonly referred to as ice cream trucks), and for anyone driving around one of these vehicles.
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Beginning May 1, 2022, ice cream trucks must be equipped with:
These vehicles must have signal lamps mounted at the same level as high and as widely spaced laterally as is practical.
The signal lamps must:
- be between five and seven inches in diameter, and
- display two alternately flashing red signal lights visible at least 500 feet away from the front and rear in normal sunlight on a straight level road.
These vehicles must have a stop signal arm that can be extended horizontally from the left side of the truck.
The specifications for the sign:
- Measurements – When the arm is extended, the side nearest the truck must be 7.25 inches long and parallel to the side of the truck. The side farthest from the truck must be 18 inches long and parallel to the side nearest the truck. The two sides must be 18 inches apart, creating a symmetrical, trapezoidal shape. The bottom of the extended arm must be about 42 inches above the street.
- Lights – The signal arm must have two alternately flashing red lights in the outside corners, and the corners must be rounded to conform with the shape of the lights. Each light must be between three and five inches in diameter and visible from at least 300 feet away from the front and rear in normal sunlight upon a straight level road.
- Colors – The signal arm must have a red reflectorized background with white letters. These colors must conform to the requirements of the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
- Words – The sign must bear the words “STOP” “IF SAFE” “THEN GO.” The word “STOP” must be in the middle of the sign in six-inch high letters that are up to four inches long. The phrase “IF SAFE” must appear above the word “STOP,” and the phrase “THEN GO” must appear below it. Both phrases must have letters that are two inches high and up to 1.75 inches in length.
A front crossing arm must be attached to an ice cream truck’s front bumper, hinged from the truck’s right side, and extend in conjunction with the stop signal arm. It must be made of durable material that is covered with a yellow or white reflective material.
The front crossing arm must:
- extend between four and six feet parallel to the ground when extended outward in front of the truck, and
- not extend past the width of the truck on the driver’s left side when retracted against the front of the truck. The bottom of the arm must be between 16 and 20 inches above the street.
A convex mirror mounted on the front of the truck so that the driver can see the front of the truck that is obscured by the hood from his or her normal seating position.
Once properly equipped
On or after May 1, 2022, or when the ice cream truck is equipped, the operator of the vehicle must:
Display flashing red signal lights and extend the stop signal arm and the front cross arm:
- for not less than 50 feet before the operator brings the truck to a stop to vend, and
- while vending, until all customers are safely off the street.
The operator of an ice cream truck shall not display the flashing red signal lights or extend the front crossing arm when the truck is in motion, unless specified above.
Penalties: First violations are infractions and subsequent violations are punishable by a fine of up to $500.
Beginning July 1, 2021, the law limits the locations where and circumstances under which an ice cream truck may stop to vend.
Specifically, it prohibits a person from vending from an ice cream truck:
- on roads (a) with speed limits higher than 25 mph or (b) that are less than 100 feet from an intersection with a road with a speed limit higher than 25 mph, unless otherwise authorized by a local traffic authority (LTA, see below);
- less than 500 feet from properties used as elementary or middle schools one hour before and one hour after the regular school day, unless it is not a school day and the board of education approves in writing;
- when he or she does not have a free, unobstructed view of the road for least 200 feet in both directions from where the truck is stopped or parked; or
- to a person standing in the road.
The new law also prohibits:
- Stopping on the left side of a one-way road to vend, and
- Backing up an ice cream truck in order to vend.
The new allows LTAs to authorize ice cream truck vending on highways with speed limits up to 35 mph or within 100 feet from an intersection with another highway with a speed limit of up to 35 mph.
The entity designated as the LTA varies by town, but may be the police commission, board of selectman, mayor, town manager, police chief, or traffic authority (CGS § 14-297(6)).
Penalties: From July 1 to September 30, 2021, police officers must issue a warning to operators who violate the above rules. Beginning October 1, 2021, first violations are infractions and subsequent violations are punishable by a fine of up to $100.
The new law requires drivers:
- when approaching or overtaking an ice cream truck displaying flashing lights and extending its stop signal arm and crossing arm, to stop their vehicles at least 10 feet from the front or back of the truck.
After stopping, the driver:
- May proceed past the truck at a reasonable speed, up to 5 mph, and
- Must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian crossing the road to or from the truck.
Note: Drivers are not required to stop and proceed in this manner when approaching or overtaking an ice cream truck that is in another lane separated by a safety island or physical barrier.