THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
relating to highway safety.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The prevalence of drivers violating Hawaii's traffic laws has become intolerable and endangers the lives of motorists, pedestrians, and other highway users, compounding the already hazardous conditions on Hawaii's roads and highway. In 2018, there were already sixty traffic fatalities on Oahu by November. Many of these fatalities were the result of various traffic violations, making this one of the deadliest years on record for Oahu's roadways.
The increasing number of reports of drivers who fail to stop at red lights is a particularly concerning trend in traffic violations that could be remedied easily and quickly through the use of simple, yet efficient technology. In other jurisdictions in the United States and in countries throughout the world, including Canada and Europe, photo red light imaging detector systems have proven reliable, efficient, and effective in identifying and deterring drivers who run red lights.
The legislature finds that photo red light imaging detector systems are safe, quick, cost-effective, and efficient. No traffic stop is involved, and a police officer is not at risk from passing traffic or armed violators. Photo red light imaging detector systems use cameras positioned at intersections where red light violations are a major cause of collisions, serving as a twenty-four hour deterrent to red light violations. Sensors are buried under a crosswalk and lead to a self-contained camera system mounted on a nearby structure. When a vehicle enters the intersection against a red light, the camera takes a telephoto color picture of the rear of the car, capturing an image of the license plate. A second wide-angle photograph records the entire intersection, including other traffic.
The legislature finds that these systems provide numerous benefits. Not only are streets safer, but police officers, freed from the time-consuming duties of traffic enforcement, have more time to respond to priority calls. A violator is less likely to go to court because the color photograph of the violation, imprinted with the time, date, and location of the violation, and the number of seconds the light had been red before the violator entered the intersection, can be used as evidence in court. Few cases are contested in other jurisdictions using this system, and officers make fewer court appearances, thus saving court costs.
The system may also result in lower insurance costs for safe drivers through an overall reduction in crashes and injuries and by placing system costs on violators instead of law-abiding taxpayers. This system ensures that traffic laws are impartially enforced, and safety and efficiency are increased by reducing the number of chases and personnel required for traffic accident clean-up, investigation, and court testimony.
While the legislature established photo speed imaging detector and photo red light imaging detector systems to improve traffic safety and enforcement through the passage of Act 234, Session Laws of Hawaii 1998, implementation of these systems as traffic enforcement tools in January 2002 generated intense public opposition. As a result of this opposition, the legislature repealed Act 234 in its entirety. However, the majority of the opposition to these programs was directed toward the photo speed imaging detector system and the method by which the program was implemented. The public perceived that the program was operated to maximize revenue for the vendor running the program rather than improve traffic safety. In particular, vans in which the cameras were mounted were often placed at locations that did not have a history of speed-related accidents. Vans were used to monitor locations with heavy traffic flow at lower speeds. This permitted the vendor to maximize the vendor's own potential return by issuing the maximum number of citations in the shortest period of time and at the least cost, without actually improving traffic safety.
Though many of the concerns raised regarding photo speed imaging detector systems were and continue to be valid, the use of photo red light imaging detector systems appears to be a more acceptable method of traffic enforcement, as a motorist's disregard of a steady red traffic signal is evident. The legislature finds that establishing a photo red light imaging detector systems program will serve as a useful traffic enforcement tool and is in the best interest of public safety on Hawaii's roadways.
Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to:
(1) Establish a photo red light imaging detector systems program to improve enforcement of the State's traffic signal laws;
(2) Allow counties to implement the photo red light imaging detector systems program;
(3) Amend the amount of the fines for various violations of the statewide traffic code; and
(4) Authorize the direct transfer to the counties of any fines collected under county programs that are in excess of amounts required by the State to pay the administrative costs of the traffic violations bureau.
SECTION 2. The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
PHOTO RED LIGHT IMAGING DETECTOR SYSTEMS
§ -1 Definitions. As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
"County" means the counties of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and the city and county of Honolulu.
"County highway" has the same meaning as used in section 264-1.
"Department" means the department of transportation.
"Motor vehicle" has the same meaning as used in section 291C‑1.
"Photo red light imaging detector" means a device used for traffic enforcement that includes a vehicle sensor that works in conjunction with a traffic-control signal and a camera or similar device to automatically produce a photographic, digital, or other visual image of a vehicle that has disregarded a steady red traffic-control signal in violation of section 291C‑32 and a photographic, digital, or other visual image of the driver of the motor vehicle.
"State highway" has the same meaning as used in section 264-1.
"Traffic-control signal" has the same meaning as defined in section 291C-1.
§ -2 Photo red light imaging detector systems program; established. There is established the photo red light imaging detector systems program that may be implemented by any county on state or county highways within the respective county to enforce the traffic-control signal laws of the State.
§ -3 County powers and duties. (a) In accordance with this chapter, each county may establish and implement a photo red light imaging detector system that imposes monetary liability on the operator of a motor vehicle for failure to comply with traffic-control signal laws. Each county may provide for the procurement, location, installation, operation, maintenance, and repair of the photo red light imaging detector system. Where the photo red light imaging detector system affects state property, the department shall cooperate with and assist the county as needed to install, maintain, and repair the photo red light imaging detector system established pursuant to this chapter.
(b) Each county shall pay the vendor that installs a photo red light imaging detector system a negotiated lump sum regardless of the number of citations issued or expected to be issued through the use of the installed photo red light imaging detector system.
§ -4 Photo red light imaging detector system requirements. (a) Photo red light imaging detector equipment shall be operated from a fixed pole, post, or other fixed structure on a state or county highway.
(b) Signs and other official traffic-control devices indicating that traffic signal laws are enforced by a photo red light imaging detector system shall be posted on all major routes entering an area utilizing a photo red light imaging detector system to provide, as far as practicable, notice to drivers of the existence and operation of the system.
(c) Proof of a traffic-control signal violation shall be evidenced by information obtained from the photo red light imaging detector system. A certificate, sworn to or affirmed by the county's agent or employee, or a facsimile thereof, based upon inspection of photographs, microphotographs, videotape, or other recorded images produced by the system, shall be prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein. Any photographs, microphotographs, videotape, or other recorded images evidencing a violation shall be available for inspection in any proceeding to adjudicate liability for the violation.
(d) A summons or citation based on the photo red light imaging detector systems program shall not be issued unless it contains a clear and unobstructed photographic, digital, or other visual image of the driver of the motor vehicle.
(e) The conditions specified in this section shall not apply when the information gathered is used for highway safety research or to issue warning citations not involving a fine, court appearance, or a person's driving record.
§ -5 Summons or citations. (a) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, whenever any motor vehicle is determined, by means of a photo red light imaging detector system, to have disregarded a steady red signal in violation of section 291C‑32(a)(3), the county shall issue a summons or citation to the registered owner of the vehicle at the address on record at the vehicle licensing division. The summons or citation shall be:
(1) Sent by certified or registered mail;
(2) Sent with a return receipt; and
(3) Postmarked within seventy-two hours of the time of the incident.
If the end of the seventy-two hour period falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or state holiday, then the ending period shall run until the end of the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or state holiday.
(b) The form and content of the summons or citation shall be as adopted or prescribed by the administrative judge of the district courts and shall be printed on a form commensurate with the form of other summonses or citations used in modern methods of arrest, so designed to include all necessary information to make the summons or citation valid within the laws of the State; provided that any summons or citation issued pursuant to the photo red light imaging detector systems program shall contain a clear and unobstructed photographic, digital, or other visual image of the driver of the motor vehicle, that shall be used as evidence of the violation.
(c) Every summons or citation shall be consecutively numbered and each copy thereof shall bear the number of its respective original.
(d) Upon receipt of the summons or citation, the registered owner shall respond as provided for in chapter 291D. A mail receipt signed by the registered owner is prima facie evidence of notification. The registered owner shall be determined by the identification of the vehicle's registration plates.
(e) The county, or the county's agent or employee, shall be available to testify as to the authenticity of the information provided pursuant to this section.
§ -6 Registered owner's responsibility for a summons or citation. In any proceeding for a violation of this chapter, the information contained in the summons or citation mailed in accordance with section -5 shall be deemed prima facie evidence that the registered vehicle violated section 291C‑32(a)(3).
§ -7 Prima facie evidence. (a) Whenever the photo red light imaging detector system determines a motor vehicle to be in violation of section 291C-32(a)(3), evidence that the motor vehicle described in the summons or citation issued pursuant to this chapter was operated in violation of that section, together with proof that the person to whom the summons or citation was sent was the registered owner of the motor vehicle at the time of the violation, shall constitute prima facie evidence that the registered owner of the motor vehicle was the person who committed the violation.
(b) The registered owner of the vehicle may rebut the evidence of a violation in subsection (a) by any one of the following:
(1) Submitting a written statement as provided in section 291D-6(b)(2);
(2) Testifying in open court under oath that the person was not the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation;
(3) Calling witnesses to testify in open court under oath that the person was not the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation;
(4) Extrinsic evidence that the person was not the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation;
(5) Presenting to the court adjudicating the alleged violation, prior to the return date established on the citation or summons issued pursuant to this chapter, a letter of verification of loss from the police department indicating that the vehicle had been reported stolen; or
(6) Identifying the person who was the actual driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation.
§ -8 Failure to comply with summons or citation. If the registered owner of the vehicle does not answer a summons or citation within twenty-one days of receipt of the summons or citation, the district court shall issue a notice of entry of judgment by default to the registered owner of the vehicle pursuant to section 291D-7(e).
§ -9 Liability for rental or U‑drive motor vehicle. Notwithstanding any 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; provided that:
(1) 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 thirty days after a notice containing the date, time, and location of the alleged violation and the license number of the vehicle is sent to the lessor; and
(2) 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 $ per citation.
§ -10 Penalty; disposition of fines. (a) The penalties for a steady red signal violation determined by a photo red light imaging detector system shall be as provided in section 291C-161.
(b) All fines collected under this chapter for violations occurring on a county highway that are in excess of amounts required by the State to pay the administrative costs of the traffic violations bureau shall be transmitted by the director of finance to the county in which the fine was imposed not more than thirty days after the end of each fiscal quarter.
§ -11 Fines for unauthorized disclosure. All personal and confidential information made available by any government agency to an agent of any county for the photo red light imaging detector systems program shall be kept confidential and shall be used only for the purposes for which the information was furnished. Any officer, employee, or agent of a county who intentionally discloses or provides a copy of personal and confidential information obtained from a photo red light imaging detector system to any person or agency without authorization shall be fined not more than $ ; provided that the fine shall not preclude the application of penalties or fines otherwise provided for by law.
§ -12 Rules. The department shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 to effectuate the purposes of this chapter."
SECTION 3. Section 291C-161, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
.]; photo red light
imaging detector system fines.
(a) It is a violation for any
person to violate any of the provisions of this chapter, except as otherwise
specified in subsections (c) and (d) and unless the violation is by other law
of this State declared to be a felony, misdemeanor, or petty misdemeanor.
(b) Except as provided in subsections (c) and (d), every person who is determined to have violated any provision of this chapter for which another penalty is not provided shall be fined:
(1) Not more than [
$200] $ for a first violation thereof;
(2) Not more than [
$300] $ for a second violation committed within one
year after the date of the first violation; and
(3) Not more than [
$500] $ for a third or subsequent violation committed
within one year after the date of the first violation.
(c) Every person convicted under or found in violation of section 291C-12, 291C-12.5, 291C-12.6, 291C-13, 291C-14, 291C-15, 291C-16, 291C-72, 291C-73, 291C-95, 291C-102, 291C-103, 291C-104, or 291C-105 shall be sentenced or fined in accordance with those sections.
(d) Every person who violates section 291C-13 or 291C-18 shall:
(1) Be fined not more than [
$200] $ or imprisoned not more than ten days for a
first conviction thereof;
(2) Be fined not more than [
$300] $ or imprisoned not more than twenty days or
both for conviction of a second offense committed within one year after the
date of the first offense; and
(3) Be fined not more than [
$500] $ or imprisoned not more than six months or both
for conviction of a third or subsequent offense committed within one year after
the date of the first offense.
(e) The court may assess a sum not to exceed $50 for the cost of issuing a penal summons upon any person who fails to appear at the place within the time specified in the citation issued to the person for any traffic violation.
(f) All fines collected under chapter for a violation of section 291C-32 occurring on a county highway that are in excess of amounts required by the State to pay the administrative costs of the traffic violations bureau shall be transmitted by the director of finance to the county in which the fine was assessed not more than thirty days after the end of each fiscal quarter.
(g) The court may require a
person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter to attend a course of
instruction in driver retraining as deemed appropriate by the court, in addition
to any other penalties imposed."
SECTION 4. Section 291C-163, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) This chapter shall not be deemed to prevent counties with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction from:
(1) Regulating or prohibiting stopping, standing, or parking except as provided in section 291C-111;
(2) Regulating traffic by means of police officers or official traffic-control devices;
(3) Regulating or prohibiting processions or assemblages on the highways;
(4) Designating particular highways or roadways for use by traffic moving in one direction;
(5) Establishing speed limits for vehicles in public parks;
(6) Designating any highway as a through highway or designating any intersection as a stop or yield intersection;
(7) Restricting the use of highways;
(8) Regulating the operation and equipment of and requiring the registration and inspection of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee;
(9) Regulating or prohibiting the turning of vehicles or specified types of vehicles;
(10) Altering or establishing speed limits;
(11) Requiring written accident reports;
(12) Designating no-passing zones;
(13) Prohibiting or regulating the use of controlled-access roadways by any class or kind of traffic;
(14) Prohibiting or regulating the use of heavily traveled streets by any class or kind of traffic found to be incompatible with the normal and safe movement of traffic;
(15) Establishing minimum speed limits;
(16) Designating hazardous railroad grade crossing;
(17) Designating and regulating traffic on play streets;
(18) Prohibiting pedestrians from crossing a roadway in a business district or any designated highway except in a crosswalk;
(19) Restricting pedestrian crossing at unmarked crosswalks;
(20) Regulating persons propelling push carts;
(21) Regulating persons upon skates, coasters, sleds, and other toy vehicles;
(22) Adopting and enforcing such temporary or experimental regulations as may be necessary to cover emergencies or special conditions;
(23) Adopting maximum and minimum speed limits on streets and highways within their respective jurisdictions;
(24) Adopting requirements on stopping, standing, and parking on streets and highways within their respective jurisdictions except as provided in section 291C-111;
(25) Prohibiting or regulating electric personal
assistive mobility devices on sidewalks and bicycle paths;
(26) Implementing a photo red light imaging detector system pursuant to chapter ; and
(26)] (27) Adopting
[ such] other traffic regulations [ as are] specifically authorized
by this chapter."
SECTION 5. Section 291C-165, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:
"(b) In every case when a citation is issued, 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; [
(B) A vehicle illegally utilizing a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities, where the violator refuses the citation; or
(C) A motor vehicle determined by a photo red light imaging detector system established pursuant to chapter to have disregarded a steady red signal in violation of section 291C-32(a)(3);
the original of the citation shall be sent by
certified or registered mail, with a return receipt that is postmarked within
forty-eight hours of the time of the incident, as provided in section 291C-223
for vehicles illegally utilizing the high occupancy vehicle lane, or within
seventy-two hours of the time of the incident for vehicles illegally utilizing
a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities[
,] or for
vehicles disregarding a steady red signal in violation of section 291C-32(a)(3)
as determined by a photo red light imaging detector system, to the
registered owner of the vehicle at the address on record at the vehicle
licensing division. If the end of the
applicable forty-eight or seventy-two hour period falls on a Saturday, Sunday,
or state holiday, then the ending period shall run until the end of the
next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or state holiday; provided
that the administrative judge of the district courts may allow a carbon 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 6. Section 291C-194, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (c) to read as follows:
"(c) Any person who is convicted of violating this
section shall be subject to penalties as provided under section 291C-161(b) and
SECTION 7. It is the intent of this Act not to jeopardize the receipt of any federal aid nor to impair the obligation of the State or any agency thereof to the holders of any bond issued by the State or by any such agency, and the governor may modify the strict provisions of this Act only to the extent necessary to effectuate this intent; provided that the governor shall promptly report any modification with reasons therefor to the legislature at its next regular session thereafter.
SECTION 8. If any provision of this Act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the Act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.
SECTION 9. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.
SECTION 10. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 11. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2019.
City and County of Honolulu Mayor's Package; Highway Safety; Photo Red Light Imaging; County Authority
Establishes the photo red light imaging detector systems program. Authorizes counties to administer the program. Requires fines collected for violations on a county highway to be transmitted to the appropriate county after expenses are deducted.
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.