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Tuesday, May 7, 2002



Van cams give
flurry of tickets
at project’s end

2,097 citations were issued
in the first 5 days of April;
the vans were stopped April 10


By Nelson Daranciang
ndaranciang@starbulletin.com

The pace at which the van camera operator was issuing speeding citations was rising rapidly when Gov. Ben Cayetano halted the program last month.

Affiliated Computer Services issued 2,097 citations for vehicles tagged speeding by the van cameras in the first five days of April, according to figures compiled by the state Judiciary. State Department of Transportation Director Brian Minaai ordered ACS to take the vans off the road and stop issuing citations on April 10. Citations not already in the mail were not issued.

ACS issued 3,590 citations in January, 3,600 in February and 9,668 in March.

art



It does not make sense for ACS officials to pick up the pace of issuing citations in the last week of the program and inconvenience another 2,000 people because "at that point they knew the handwriting was on the wall," said Sen. Colleen Hanabusa (D, Waianae), an opponent of the program.

Cayetano ordered the Photo Traffic Enforcement Program halted after the state Legislature voted to repeal the law that established it.

The repeal took effect April 30 without Cayetano's signature.

"What I hope it's not is an effort to try to boost up some measure of damages," Hanabusa said.

The state Attorney General's Office is preparing to negotiate what the state owes ACS for ending the program four months into the company's three-year contract.

Minaai estimates the state owes ACS between $1 million and $1.5 million. He said company officials have suggested they are owed between $5 million and $8 million. ACS, however, has yet to make a claim for damages, said Wayne Matsuura, deputy state attorney general.

Minaai attributes the March and April increases to the vans being deployed more hours of the day and to more locations.

"In the last couple of weeks, I was getting calls from Hawaii Kai, Waimanalo, Kaaawa, Hauula -- those drivers were seeing the vans for the first time," said Sen. Bob Hogue (R, Kaneohe), another opponent of the camera vans.

In the first two months of the program, the vans were limited primarily to Honolulu highways because the state's rural courts were not prepared to adjudicate photo speeding citations.

The van cameras began operating weekend and overnight hours and on rural Oahu highways in mid-February. However, only two of ACS's four vans were in service at the time.

All four vans were operating in March.

The state Judiciary does not have a final tally of how much the state has collected from the program because the recipients of the last citations issued have until next month to decide whether to pay the fine, challenge the citation in court or ask for a trial if their challenge is unsuccessful.



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