Red light camera bill rolling along

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A proposal to install cameras to catch red-light-runners, has widespread support from the community and it is rolling through, at the state capitol.

It’s an issue the Hawaii Bicycling League calls “traffic violence” — and one of the causes, is drivers failing to stop for a red traffic light. 

Daniel Alexander, Co-Executive Director of the Hawaii Bicycling League, says, “We know the DOT ran the numbers and the last eight years, 13 people have died on Hawaii’s roads because someone ran a light. Sixteen-hundred, over 16-hundred crashes occurred because someone ran a light.”

A record number of lives were lost in pedestrian crashes in 2018. Forty-four people were killed. Alexander believes that is one of the reasons the proposal is rolling forward and will be the subject of a hearing Wednesday morning. 

He says another reason for its progress, is the Kakaako crash that claimed three lives.

“It was a big spike from previous years and people said ‘This is terrible,’ and I think they looked at the three people killed in one act, and they said, ‘This is not the sort of place we want to live in, we want to be able to go outside and get places and get there safely and return home,’ and I feel like that’s what’s pushing this.”

Statewide between 2014 and 2018, police issued more than 17-thousand tickets to drivers who ran red lights — but those were only the ones that got caught.

Some 67 pieces of testimony have been submitted in support of the bill. Opponents are few, but include the Office of Public Defender. It does not believe the proposal balances the rights of accused violators with the public’s interest in traffic safety. 

Any ticket would be sent to the registered owner of the photographed vehicle, and if they were not driving the car, they would be inconvenienced by having to offer proof that they were not behind the wheel.

One of the benefits of having cameras catch red-light-runners in the act, is that it’s automatic, 24-7– and does not put police officers in harm’s way. The Honolulu Police Department submitted testimony in support of the proposal.

Lawmakers we tried to interview were in hearings and were unavailable to comment. 

Late testimony will be accepted and can be submitted online:

Red Light Camera bill SB 663 SD2

Bill link and status: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=663&year=2019

DATE: Wed., March 13, 2019

TIME: 10 a.m.

PLACE: Hawaii State Capitol, Conference Room 423

Register to testify: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/login/register.aspx

Submit testimony: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=663&year=2019

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