HONOLULU (KHON2) — More than 4,000 citations have been sent out for the Department of Transportation’s red light camera program, which is six months into its two-year pilot.
The cameras cite the owner if a vehicle enters an intersection after the light has turned red and it will not give speeding tickets — for now — even though the infrastructure is there.
Nine out of 10 red light cameras are actively issuing citations for red light runners at Oahu intersections as of Tuesday, May 23. KHON2 noticed the vehicle speed is listed in the DOT’s example photo of how the cameras work, but officials say speed is not an issue for the duration of the program.
“After the two years, we put together, report all of the all that data, all the numbers we have, we take it to the State legislature, then we see what they would like to do it, what lawmakers want to do,” said DOT spokesman Jai Cunningham. “Do they want to keep it in place? Do they want to expand it? Do they want to increase it where you may be able to issue speeding tickets as well? And that’s something that Director Sniffen has said all along.”
Sen. Karl Rhoads said red light runners do not often take their time.
“I notice them actually more when I’m walking because, you know, you got you get the green light, you start to walk and then, ‘Whoosh!’ A car comes right by you,” Sen. Rhoads said.
The DOT said the cameras only cite red light runners but added lawmakers could expand them to cite those who are speeding after the two-year pilot.
“I don’t think it would take much because like you said, there’s technology that’s already there that can measure the speed in which the car went through the intersection,” Cunningham said.
Sen. Rhoads pointed out that it will take some political maneuvering.
“As a safety matter, I’m, I would be open to the idea, I don’t want to bring VanCams back,” Sen. Rhoads said. “I think if we’re gonna do this, it needs to be more predictable like there’s always a radar gun at a certain part of the road. And so you just know that if you go fast on that part of the road, you’re not going to get caught.”
Cunningham said there would be similar education and signage that surround the red light cameras.
“And if we were to do something with speed enforcement, we would do the same thing,” Cunningham said. “The signs would be up anywhere we would put these, there would be stable cameras, you know, that would not be moving, there would be outreach to let people know what we’re doing.”
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The pilot program is expected to wrap up in May 2025 — two years after the newest camera begins issuing citations.