STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2679
RE: S.B. No. 2994
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2020
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Transportation and Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs, to which was referred S.B. No. 2994 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO HIGHWAY SAFETY,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to improve traffic safety by establishing the Photo Red Light Imaging Detector Systems Program and authorizing the counties to administer the program.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Transportation; Honolulu Police Department; Department of Transportation Services; County of Hawaii, Office of the Mayor; Maui Police Department; Disability and Communication Access Board; Hawaii Public Health Institute; Blue Zones Project; AAA Hawaii, LLC; Hawaii Bicycling League; Mothers Against Drunk Driving; and twenty-one individuals. Your Committees received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Office of the Public Defender and two individuals. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Department of Budget and Finance, Hawaii State Judiciary, and one individual.
Your Committees find that the prevalence of drivers violating Hawaii's traffic laws has become intolerable, particularly drivers who run red lights. These violations endanger the lives of motorists and pedestrians and compound the already hazardous conditions on Hawaii's roads and highways. Disregarding traffic signals has also been the common denominator in many recent, highly publicized motor vehicle crashes that have claimed several lives.
Your Committees further find that in jurisdictions in the United States, Canada, Europe, and other countries throughout the world, photo red light imaging detector systems have been proven safe, cost-effective, reliable, and efficient in identifying and deterring those who run red lights. No traffic stop is involved, and a police officer is not at risk from passing traffic or armed violators. With photo red light imaging detector systems, a camera is positioned at intersections where red light violations are a major cause of collisions and serves as a twenty—four—hour deterrent to running a red light. 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 the license plate. A second wide—angle photograph takes in the entire intersection, including other traffic.
Your Committees further find that the photo speed imaging detector system created by Act 234, Session Laws of Hawaii 1998, and implemented in January 2002, generated intense public opposition. As a result of this opposition, the Legislature repealed Act 234 in its entirety. However, most of the opposition to this program resulted from the method by which the program was implemented. The public perceived that the program was operated more to maximize revenue for the vendor running the program than to improve traffic safety. In particular, vans in which the cameras were mounted were often placed at locations that did not necessarily have a history of speed—related accidents and instead were used to monitor locations with heavy traffic flow at lower speeds. This permitted the vendor to issue the maximum number of citations in the shortest period of time and at the least cost, thereby maximizing the potential return to the vendor without improving traffic safety.
Your Committees further find that Act 131, Session Laws of Hawaii 2019, created the red-light running committee, whose purpose was to "develop policy recommendations for red light running programs in the city and county of Honolulu, and the counties of Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii." After examining the red light running programs of Washington, Illinois, New York, and Florida, the red light running committee found that red light photo enforcement programs are a promising tool that, when implemented properly, can save lives and reduce injuries by changing drivers' behaviors and lead to safer driving habits. Based on their findings, the red-light running committee made several policy recommendations, which are reflected in this measure.
Your Committees report that the Hawaii State Judiciary testified that the measure be modified to eliminate ambiguities. Accordingly, your Committees have amended this measure by adding language that makes clear that the citations will be issued to the registered owner of the motor vehicle.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Transportation and Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2994, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2994, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Transportation and Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs,
CLARENCE K. NISHIHARA, Chair
LORRAINE R. INOUYE, Chair