Tuesday, January 8, 2002

Glitches invalidate
hundreds of tickets

Human error taints all
but 158 of the first-day
traffic photo citations

By Nelson Daranciang

Only 158 citations were mailed to owners of the 927 cars caught speeding by traffic enforcement cameras last Wednesday because of errors by the people operating the cameras, said Marilyn Kali, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

"Some, they didn't get the full license plates. Some, the cross hairs weren't exactly on the license of the car that was speeding," Kali said. "These were some new operators. They've had some additional training since then."

Kali said some of the photographs were rejected because they listed the wrong location.

Before a citation can be issued, the photographs are checked to verify the license number, time and location of the infraction. The license number is then matched with the registered owner from the city Division of Motor Vehicles file. It is then matched with the driver's license number of the registered owner. The license number is then verified a second time.

Affiliated Computer Services USA operates laser cameras in four vans that can monitor traffic along 15 Oahu roadways. The company receives a percentage of the fines.

Wednesday was the first day the registered owners of cars caught speeding were cited. The approved citations went in the mail Saturday. ACS operated two vans during the Dec. 3-Jan. 1 warning period.

There were 630 cars caught speeding by the laser cameras Thursday. Kali said she has not heard whether there were any problems with any of those photographs. The citations went in the mail last night.

Kali insists the photo enforcement program is accomplishing what it was designed to do: get people to slow down and drive the speed limit.

"Whether we issue a single ticket is not the point. Ideally we'd like to give zero citations," she said.

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