Report Title:

Traffic Enforcement; Gridlock



Provides for specific regulation of drivers who obstruct traffic in intersections caused by gridlock.



H.B. NO.












SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the blocking of intersections by vehicles transversing through it causes traffic congestion and is a problem in Hawaii. Each time a vehicle is stopped within an intersection when a cross traffic light turns green causes a traffic congestion and gridlock. This causes motorists to become frustrated and often leads to aggression and rage. It often turns into a traffic problem during the peak hour traffic rush at all major traffic intersections. To alleviate this problem, police have been assigning officers at these intersections and in 1999 issued 274 citations for blocking the intersection. In 2000, for the months of January through October, 676 citations were issued to motorists who blocked the intersection. It has been a problem with police as they are unable to assign an officer to all of the intersections in which this violation occurs and not all intersections have the necessary space to stop violators without causing further traffic tie-ups.

The purpose of this Act is to:

(1) Establish a new state traffic law prohibiting the stopping when traffic is obstructed;

(2) Enhance the photo imaging pilot program to include stopping when traffic is obstructed; and

(3) Give police the ability to mail citations to registered owners of vehicles who violate this law when witnessed by police.

SECTION 2. Chapter 291C, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new part to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:


"291C- Stop when traffic obstructed. (a) No driver of a vehicle shall enter an intersection or a marked or unmarked crosswalk unless there is sufficient space on the other side of the intersection or crosswalk to accommodate the vehicle without obstructing the passage of other vehicles or pedestrians, notwithstanding any traffic control signal indication to proceed.

(b) Whenever any motor vehicle is observed obstructing an intersection, an officer observing the vehicle shall cause a summons or citation to be issued at the scene of the violation to the driver of the vehicle or be sent by mail to the registered owner of the vehicle as described in section 291C-165.

291C- Registered owner's responsibility for a summons or citation. In any proceeding for a violation of this part, the information contained in the summons or citation issued in accordance with section 291C- shall be deemed evidence that the registered vehicle was in violation of obstructing an intersection and the registered owner is responsible for its illegal operation. The registered owner shall be determined by the identification of the vehicle's registration plates.

291C- Failure to comply with summons or citation. If a violator of this part does not return an answer in response to a summons or citation within a period of fourteen days upon receipt of the summons or citation, the traffic violations bureau shall issue to the registered owner of the vehicle a penal summons ordering the registered owner's appearance in court.

291C- Liability for rental or U-drive vehicle. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, if the registered owner of record is the lessor of a rental or U-drive motor vehicle, as defined in section 286-2 pursuant to a written lease agreement, the lessee at the time of the violation shall be responsible for the summons or citation. However, the lessor shall be responsible for the summons or citation if the lessor does not provide the court, having jurisdiction over the summons or citation, with the name and address of the lessee within forty-five days after a notice containing the date, time, and location of the violation and the license number of the vehicle is sent to the lessor; provided that the administrative judge of the court having jurisdiction over the summons or citation may waive the requirement of providing the name and address of the lessee and impose on the lessor an administrative fee of $50 per citation.

291C- Penalty. A person who violates this part shall be fined $75; for conviction of a second offense committed within one year after the date of the first offense, the person shall be fined $150; for conviction of a third or subsequent offense committed within one year after the date of the first offense, the person shall be fined $200."

SECTION 3. Section 291C-165, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

"(b) In every case when a citation is insured, the original of the citation shall be given to the violator; provided that:

(1) In the case of an unattended vehicle, the original of the citation shall be affixed to the vehicle as provided for in section 291C-167; or

(2) In the case of:

(A) A vehicle utilizing the high occupancy vehicle lane illegally; or

(B) A traffic or other violation on a public roadway or controlled access facility that is recorded through the use of a hand-held or mounted video camera, conventional camera, or digital camera that produces photographic identification of a vehicle,

the original of the citation may be sent within three days of the date of the incident by certified mail, registered mail, or first class mail with a certificate of mailing obtained as evidence of service to the registered owner of the vehicle at the address on record at the vehicle licensing division; provided that days when the post office is not open to the public shall not be included in the calculation of the three days; provided further that the administrative judge of the district courts may allow a copy of the citation to be given to the violator or affixed to the vehicle and provide for the disposition of the original and any other copies of the citation."

SECTION 4. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun, before its effective date.

SECTION 5. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.