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Red light cameras could soon be a reality in Hawaii, but major concerns remain

A bill that would bring red light cameras to Hawaii continues to make its way through the legislature.

The bill would give the green light for red light cameras to be installed at intersections around the state.

This most recent effort by the state legislature to introduce red light cameras onto the streets of Hawaii has been met with mixed support.

The Public Defenders Office opposes the idea. They say taxpayers would end up footing the bill for a system that couldn't pay for itself.

But for those in support, it's a chance to make Hawaii's roads safer. Of course one common objection is how and when the cameras would take a photo.

Panos Prevodouros, Chair of the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UH says a typical yellow light is three seconds, followed by a full second of red. "But some places they allow you to take the three seconds but then once the extra second of all red comes up they give you a ticket, which is by engineering standard illegal so the possibility of cheating is very much there."

According to AAA most red light camera studies do show reductions in traffic crashes, cutting down on t-bone type crashes.

But to go with that reduction, comes a rise in rear end collisions, and Prevodouros says the cameras don't affect accidents caused by distracted driving, or people that are intoxicated. "So no matter how many threats you put with red light camera etc. that's not going to solve it because at that time you're not paying attention."

Last year alone HPD says there were over 2,800 red light violations, with over 600 in the first two months of this year. Each violation carries a $97 fine. In testimony submitted to the legislature, public perception was another big issue, something that could be hard to change after the van cam to catch speeders was ultimately given the axe.

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