Red light cameras get green light

  • Cyclists stop for a red light on Makala Boulevard recently. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • A bill in the state Legislature is funding a pilot program to operate red light cameras. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — A proposed statewide red light detector system will first operate as a pilot program for at least a year.

On Friday, the measure passed Conference committee with amendments and will go to the full House and Senate for a final vote.

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“For me, I wanted an immediate process,” said Sen. Lorraine R. Inouye (D-North Hawaii). “The House wanted to make sure we took a look at it and implement it next year.”

Inouye, co-sponsor of the measure, said the purpose of the bill was to establish a photo red light detector systems program to deter motorists from running red lights and free police officers to respond to priority calls.

The measure has been altered to a pilot program, which will be operating in all counties if Gov. David Ige signs the bill.

“What the House agreed to do is a pilot program to make recommendations on how we’re going to proceed on staffing, evaluation and efficacy of the program,” Inouye said.

Inouye said the DOT had already been moving along in this effort to install red light cameras.

As the Red Light Committee studies the pilot program, it will allow the Department of Transportation to identify all of the most dangerous intersections so the public can be made aware of those areas in advance.

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It will also allow the state to put a final figure on how much each county is going to need to run the program. Inouye said to get the program installed, sensors will be buried under the crosswalks and the camera system itself will need to be mounted on a nearby structure.

Friday’s amendments add the chair or designee of the State Highway Safety Council to the Red Light Committee and inserting an effective date upon approval.

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