The Honolulu Police Department is sending out a strong message to pedestrians and drivers– obey the laws at the intersection or it will cost you.
It’s in response to the recent spike in pedestrian deaths on Oahu. HPD says it is enforcing the laws to educate the public and make the roads safer.
The most common mistake pedestrians are making is crossing when the light is already flashing. That mistake can cost you $130.
Several HPD officers were at the corner of Kaheka and Kanunu Streets and even though they were there in plain sight and in uniform, it didn’t talk long before they were handing out citations.
“You ran across the street, it was counting down, you only had four seconds, so that’s illegal,” said an officer to a pedestrian who was cited.
“When you see the red palm flashing and you see the countdown number, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t mean hurry up and cross the street,” said officer Ed Ho.
Crossing the street after the countdown has started carries the same penalty as jaywalking, which is a $130 fine. Officers were also citing drivers for turning before pedestrians can cross the street.
“There is a different statute that applies to the driver, which is failure to yield to a pedestrian crossing. And so we’re definitely taking care of both the driver’s responsibility as well as the pedestrian’s responsibility,” said Ho.
For drivers the fine is also $130 and they have to appear in court.
HPD says they were actually warning pedestrians and drivers in the area for a couple of weeks, even handing out warning flyers that educate them. This time, they say it’s time to hand out citations.
HPD says they will continue with the increased level of enforcement at other areas where it’s needed. Those who are cited may not be happy about it. But others say it’s necessary.
“To me, it’s safety first. They’re out here trying to protect the people plus the driver. Lately on this island there’s so much craziness going on,” said pedestrian Nicky Vu.
HPD says there have been 23 pedestrian deaths on Oahu this year. That’s nearly six times as much as last year at this time.
Keep in mind HPD will also be using plain clothes officers to crack down on violators. So be warned, they’re out there, and it will cost you if you break the law.