HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

2217

TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2018

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to traffic control.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that each year there are numerous complaints from Hawaii motorists that traffic-control devices occasionally malfunction and that, generally, traffic protocol, courtesy, and the common sense of motorists can be relied upon to deal with these occasional, unexpected malfunctions. However, there is a more frequent form of traffic-control device malfunction called a "dead red light" that occurs when the traffic-control device fails to sense that a vehicle is waiting at an intersection and facing a steady red signal, thereby causing the traffic-control device to fail to properly cycle through the three stages of signal colors: green, yellow, and red. This malfunction occurs due to a defect in the design, calibration, or positioning of the traffic-control device.

The dead red light malfunction can manifest in one of two ways. First, the traffic-control device may be otherwise operating correctly and controlling other traffic in the intersection, while continuing to show a steady red signal to one portion of the intersection throughout multiple signal cycles. Second, the traffic-control device, upon failing to detect the driver's vehicle facing the steady red signal, does not cycle through the three color stages anywhere in the intersection, and instead continues to show a steady red signal. In this situation, if the traffic-control device does not require actual repair, the driver must wait until a new cycle is triggered by another vehicle's presence.

Regardless of the type of dead red light malfunction, the malfunction creates an unsafe and hazardous situation for all motorists at the intersection, as motorists do not know when to safely proceed through an intersection. Although the dead red light malfunction can occur with any type of vehicle, the legislature acknowledges that the malfunction occurs more frequently with small, lightweight vehicles such as motorcycles, motor scooters, mopeds, and similarly sized micro-vehicles. This is likely due to the vehicles' size, weight, and mass failing to trigger the traffic-control device's sensors.

The legislature finds that allowing drivers faced with a dead red light to proceed cautiously through an affected intersection would improve safety and reduce the risks of accident and injury, allow for procedural fairness in the enforcement of traffic violations involving dead red lights, and relieve traffic congestion caused by a dead red light.

The purpose of this Act is to ameliorate the adverse consequences of the dead red light malfunction by permitting the driver of a vehicle to proceed with caution through an intersection in which a defective or malfunctioning traffic-control device fails to detect the vehicle.

SECTION 2. Section 291C-31, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

"(a) The driver of any vehicle shall obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device applicable thereto placed in accordance with law, [unless] except:

(1) As otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this chapter[.]; or

(2) As provided in section 291C-32(c)."

SECTION 3. Section 291C-32, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"291C-32 Traffic-control signal legend. (a) Whenever traffic is controlled by traffic-control signals exhibiting different colored lights, or colored lighted arrows, successively one at a time or in combination, only the colors green, red, and yellow shall be used, except for special pedestrian signals carrying a word or symbol legend, and the lights shall indicate and apply to drivers of vehicles and pedestrians as follows:

(1) Green indication:

(A) Vehicular traffic facing a circular green signal may proceed straight through or turn right or left unless a sign at the place prohibits either [such] turn. But vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk at the time [such] the signal is exhibited.

(B) Vehicular traffic facing a green arrow signal, shown alone or in combination with another indication, may cautiously enter the intersection only to make the movement indicated by [such] the arrow, or [such] any other movement as is permitted by other indications shown at the same time. [Such] This vehicular traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.

(C) Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal, as provided in section 291C-33, pedestrians facing any green signal, except when the sole green signal is a turn arrow, may proceed across the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk.

(2) Steady yellow indication:

(A) Vehicular traffic facing a steady yellow signal is thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic shall not enter the intersection.

(B) Pedestrians facing a steady yellow signal, unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal as provided in section 291C-33, are thereby advised that there is insufficient time to cross the roadway before a red indication is shown and no pedestrian shall then start to cross the roadway.

(3) Steady red indication:

(A) Vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal alone shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown, except as provided in the next succeeding paragraphs.

(B) The driver of a vehicle which is stopped in obedience to a steady red indication may make a right turn but shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic proceeding as directed by the signal at said intersection, except that counties by ordinance may prohibit any [such] right turn against a steady red indication, which ordinance shall be effective when a sign is erected at [such] that intersection giving notice thereof.

(C) The driver of a vehicle on a one-way street which intersects another one-way street on which traffic moves to the left shall stop in obedience to a steady red indication but may then make a left turn into said one-way street, but shall yield right-of-way to pedestrians, proceeding as directed by the signal at said intersection except that counties by ordinance may prohibit any [such] left turn as above described which ordinance shall be effective when a sign is erected at [such] that intersection giving notice thereof.

(D) Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal as provided in section 291C-33, pedestrians facing a steady red signal alone shall not enter the roadway.

(b) [In the event] If an official traffic-control signal is erected and maintained at a place other than an intersection, the provisions of this section shall be applicable except as to those provisions which by their nature can have no application. Any stop required shall be made at a sign or marking on the pavement indicating where the stop shall be made, but in the absence of any such sign or marking, the stop shall be made at the signal.

(c) If an official traffic-control signal displays a steady red signal through two complete cycles of the traffic-control device, the driver of a vehicle, after either the completion of two cycles or the time it would take for the completion of two cycles, may proceed through the intersection or turn left from the appropriate lane; provided that the driver may only proceed from the stopped position once it is safe to do so after giving all opposing traffic the right-of-way."

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. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

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

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Traffic-Control Devices; Malfunctions; Authority to Proceed

 

Description:

Permits the driver of a vehicle to safely proceed through an intersection in which a defective or malfunctioning traffic‑control device fails to detect the vehicle and stays in the red signal stage through 2 cycles of the traffic-control device.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.