January 16, 2007

Effort planned in Hawaii would allow traffic enforcement cameras

The topic of whether to allow automated cameras to be posted at intersections in Hawaii is expected to draw discussion during the legislative session that begins Wednesday, Jan. 17.

House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Joe Souki, D-Maui, said he will introduce a bill to authorize photo enforcement at traffic signals where there are many fatalities, The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported.

The cameras would snap pictures of red-light runnersí or speedersí vehicles and license plates, as well as their faces. Tickets would be mailed to the vehiclesí owners.

Supporters say the equipment acts as a deterrent and helps snare red-light-running drivers who otherwise might not get caught.

Opponents question the effectiveness of such intersection cameras, arguing they have the potential to distract drivers and cause more fender-bender accidents.

A study paid for by the U.S. Department of Transportation showed rear-end crashes actually increased in cities with red-light cameras, as motorists stopped abruptly at yellow lights to avoid tickets.