Two years ago, the traffic camera van, shown here on Pali Highway, had drivers in an uproar.

Traffic cam bill gets
approval from House

At least 12 who voted for the
new version express reservations

The state House gave preliminary approval last night to a bill that would bring back traffic enforcement cameras to catch red-light runners and speeders.

Legislature 2004
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But Senate Bill 2344, SD1, HD1, could face a rough road ahead.

A majority of House members voted to authorize the counties to use fixed cameras at intersections and along state and county roads, but at least 10 voted against the measure and at least 12 of those voting in favor did so expressing reservations.

Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R, Kaneohe-Kailua) was among the lawmakers who voted against the bill. "While this is a slight tweak on the infamous van cams, it's still an invasion of people's privacy," she said.

Rep. Kika Bukoski also voted against the bill. He promised to mount a campaign to defeat the proposal but said he will voice his opposition if and when the bill returns for another vote pending a recommendation by the House Finance Committee.

Rep. Blake Oshiro (D, Aiea Heights-Halawa Valley) is one of 12 lawmakers who voted in favor of the bill but voiced some concern.

"The previous program was found unconstitutional," he said. "There still are constitutional issues."

City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle waived prosecution over the speeding tickets issued by the van cams after Honolulu District Court Judge Leslie Hayashi ruled that the state will have to prove who was driving the vehicle. The van cams took photographs of only the speeding vehicles and issued the tickets to the registered owner.

Rep. Kirk Caldwell (D, Manoa-McCully) said the new proposal requires the cameras to take a photograph of the driver as well as the vehicle.

"That would address the problem that Judge Hayashi had previously," he said. "In this case you would have to be the registered owner driving the vehicle, and the photograph would have to show that."

State lawmakers repealed the van cam program two years ago following angry public opposition. Windward Oahu drivers complained that they were unfairly targeted by the van cams. The public also said the state and vendor were choosing times and locations for the van cams to maximize revenue. The vendor was to have received a share of the fines collected.

Bukoski (R, Pukalani-Ulupalakua) said the new proposal continues to provide a profit motive since the fines collected by the counties will go back to the counties.

House Transportation Chairman Joe Souki (D, Waihee-Wailuku) said he introduced the bill in response to the rash of recent traffic fatalities due to speeding.


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