With the number of traffic related deaths rising statewide—state officials, victim families and others are once again pushing for red light camera enforcement.
“It’s hard to pass bills but I think because of all the problems we’ve had with pedestrian fatalities recently, we want to do everything we can to make sure we don’t have any more tragedies like that,” said Sen. Karl Rhoads (D) Dowsett Highlands, Nuuanu, Chinatown, Downtown.
Many say they see people running red lights every day.
“I live close by and run by [Piikoi and Ala Moana] every day, and its constant it’s like dodging 3,000 pound bullets you know,” said Honolulu resident Abraham Jazmin.
Others say it goes to show how deadly disregarding a red light can be. Honolulu police say the driver involved in Saturday’s deadly crash in Kalihi that killed 32-year old Brianne Lee, ran a red light.
“The consequence [of running a red light] can be taking someone’s life and in fact t shows that red light cameras decrease crashes,” said Chad Taniguchi with Hawaii Bicycling League.
And while many think it sounds similar to the van cam program, supporters say it’s not.
“People do need to understand these are not van cams these are fixed point cameras and there will be a sign at the intersection that says you’re going to be monitored by a red light camera,” Sen. Rhoads said.
Representative Troy Hashimoto (D) Kahakuloa, Waihee, Wailuku, Waikapu, who is also co-chair of the transportation committee, says he understands the need for the cameras but wants to make sure all counties consider the pros and cons.
“We can pass the bill but once it gets implemented then there might be a lot of different opposition just like the van cam program,” he said.
“So if we can do it in a small area and see if it works well and then expand it throughout the state I think that may be a better way to go instead of pushing forward this program throughout the state all at once.”
The bill passed the Judiciary and Transportation Committee last week and will be heard by the Committee of Ways and Means on Wednesday.