A new report by the National Transportation Safety Board finds that Hawaii doesn’t have important technology to reduce accidents — and is recommending the state install cameras to catch speeders. 

While proposals to catch people going over the speed limit have failed in the past, lawmakers do agree with putting cameras up — and would start by using them to catch drivers who run red lights instead. 

Traffic safety is a huge concern across Hawaii, especially given the record number of pedestrian fatalities last year, and the already tragic start to this year, with one crash claiming three pedestrian lives.

With an eye toward improved safety, Senator Breene Harimoto believes in proactive ideas to reduce fatalities to zero. And for enforcement, he has proposed a bill that would allow the counties to install cameras to help. This bill is not about catching speeders.

“Every day, you know, we see people running red lights. I get complaints from constituents all over the place all the time. It’s just so dangerous, so we wanted to do something. We just have too many traffic fatalities and pedestrian deaths, we need to keep our guard up.”

Under the proposal, red light runners would get a time- and location-stamped citation in the mail.

Fines collected from the tickets would pay for the red-light camera program through a special fund.

Senator Karl Rhoads, who also signed the bill, says red light cameras have saved lives elsewhere.

“I was at a seminar up in Washington D.C. a couple years ago, where other states have tried it, other countries have tried red light cameras and it works. It lowers accidents, it lowers deaths, it lowers injuries.” 

Rhoads is an attorney. He says when it comes to privacy, in terms of just looking into your car as you drive by, there can be no expectation of privacy. He also says the counties have the constitutional right to install red light cameras — with a goal of saving lives.

“It’s just dangerous. It’s amazing more people aren’t killed than are, and with the track record that it has other places, I think we should at least allow for them to be put in at real high-danger intersections.”

Harimoto is hopeful the bill will be scheduled for a hearing soon.