Sen. Haskell Leads Senate Approval of Legislation to Prevent Automobile Accidents Involving Children and Ice Cream Trucks


HARTFORD, CT – On Wednesday, state Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) led the state Senate's passage of a bill that aims to protect children from automobile accidents when they are purchasing ice cream. Senate Bill 608, "An Act Concerning the Safety of Children When Buying Ice Cream From A Frozen Dessert Truck," equips ice cream trucks with resources, similar to a school bus, to make the trucks more visible to other motorists when they are parked and serving children ice cream. The legislation passed 33-0.

This bipartisan bill was referred to on the floor as "Tristan's Law." It is named after Tristan Barhorst, a Wallingford boy who was killed after he was struck by a driver while he was crossing the street after purchasing ice cream. Barhorst was only 10.

"Today, we came together in the state Senate to protect children and prevent further tragedy," said Sen. Haskell. "With ice cream truck season around the corner, it’s critical that we step up to make sure these trucks are equipped to protect young people from other motor vehicles on the road. I’m so thankful that Tristan’s parents have channeled their unimaginable grief into steadfast advocacy."

SB 608 calls for each ice cream truck to be equipped with the following, effective May 1, 2022:

  • Signal Lamps
    • Must be mounted at the same level and as high and as widely spaced laterally as practicable and shall display two alternately flashing red signal lights visible at a distance of not less than five hundred feet to the front and rear in normal sunlight upon a straight level highway.
  • Stop Signal Arm
    • Must be able to be extended horizontally from the left side of the frozen dessert truck. Two alternately flashing red lights shall be located in the outside corners of the extended signal arm and such corners shall be rounded to conform with the shape of the lights. The word "STOP" shall appear in six-inch-high white letters not to exceed four inches in length in the middle of the signal arm; above the word "STOP", the phrase "IF SAFE" shall appear in two-inch-high white letters not to exceed one and three-fourths inches in length; below the word "STOP", the phrase "THEN GO" shall appear in two-inch-high white letters not to exceed one and three-fourths inches in length.
  • Convex Mirror
    • Must be mounted on the front of the frozen dessert truck so the operator in a normal seating position is capable of seeing the area in front of the truck that is obscured by the hood.
  • Front Crossing Arm
    • Must be attached to the front bumper of the frozen dessert truck hinged from the truck's right side.

In addition to safety equipment for ice cream trucks to protect both the drivers and child pedestrians purchasing frozen desserts, SB 608 calls for drivers to stop "not less than 10 feet from the front when approaching and not less than ten feet from the rear when overtaking any frozen dessert truck on a highway when the frozen dessert truck is displaying flashing red signal lights and extending the stop signal arm and the front crossing arm." The bill also bars ice cream truck drivers from stopping in high-traffic areas. The bill was previously voted out of the Transportation Committee unanimously on March 10.