Red Light Camera Bill Advances

February 15, 2020, 1:00 PM HST (Updated February 15, 2020, 9:39 AM)
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A bill that would establish a photo red light imaging pilot program is advancing through Hawai‘i’s House Legislature.

On Feb. 13, the House Judiciary Committee voted to approve House Bill 1676 HD1, which has now advanced to the House Finance Committee for further consideration. The measure establishes a three-year photo red light imaging detector system pilot program.

The bill authorizes any impacted county to administer the photo red light imaging detector system pilot program. It also establishes a pilot program account as a special account within the general fund.

Hawai‘i Island leaders support the measure.

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“As our populations grow, so does traffic, leading to more traffic congestion and greater driver frustration,” Mayor Harry Kim stated in submitted testimony. “Frustration, in-turn, can lead to more carelessness or more risk taking, such as pushing the envelope on running red lights to save a few precious seconds.”

The bill requires proceeds of fines to be expended in the county from which they were collected for operation of the photo red light imaging system program. The pilot program would sunset on June 30, 2023.

The committee found that the prevalence of motorists who violate Hawaiʻi’s traffic laws, particularly those who fail to stop at red lights, has increased. These violations endanger the lives of motorists, pedestrians, and other highway users and compound the already hazardous conditions on Hawaiʻi’s roads and highways.

Kim added it may be necessary to prove to the public that such programs can be “administered fairly and are in the best interest of the traveler—whether driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian.”

“HB1676 will provide that opportunity for those counties that wish to participate,” he said.

The Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawai‘i (PATH) is also in support of the bill. Tina Clothier, Strategic Projects Director for PATH is also a member of the Hawai‘i County Vision Zero Task Force. She submitted testimony, applauding he legislature for the desire to work toward eliminating deaths on Hawai‘i’s roadways.

“HB1676 complements state and county vision zero efforts to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2030,” Clothier said. “This measure places emphasis on the two leading factors in roadway deaths in Hawai‘i, speed and impairment.”

There was one individual opposed to the bill. Natalie Iwasa submitted testimony, which stated the bill, if made law, would treat people as if they are guilty until they prove themselves innocent.

“That goes against the foundation of our legal system,” she said. “In addition, there is no guarantee that this program would create safer roads. It may, however, increase the number of rear end crashes.”

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