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Red light cameras are nabbing hundreds of red-light runners

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Red-Light Safety Camera Pilot Program kicked-off in late November 2022. So, how is the program going?

According to the Department of Transportation, there have been 1,793 citations issued in just the first four months of the program. And, only five of the 10 cameras are ticketing drivers at this point.

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Jai Cunningham, from DOT, said the data is matching up with their preliminary studies.

“We’re seeing that indeed some of those intersections are with the red lights placed there, are placed in the right spot; that’s for sure,” Cunningham said.

The first intersection to go live at Vineyard Boulevard and Palama Street has issued 543 citations since Nov. 20, 2022.

Vineyard Boulevard and Liliha Street already surpassed that with 210 citations issued from the NW approach and another 492 from the SE approach; and it went live on Dec. 12, 2022.

Then, there are spots like the Pali Highway and School Street that are real problem areas.

Honolulu Police Department started issuing citations there on Jan. 28. They’ve already ticketed 346 drivers for running the red. DOT estimates 5.6 people run that light every day.

“These are some real hotspots here,” said Steven Wong, operator of Wong Way Driving Academy. “I think they chose some pretty decent locations where people especially–when there’s speed involved– once people start moving fast, they don’t want to stop.”

Wong isn’t at all surprised by the amount of citations issued.

“I’m on the road almost all day long, and I see people just running the red lights all the time,” he said.

“Everybody’s just not following the rules.”

DOT is hoping the numbers will drop to prevent dangerous and even deadly accidents, but Cunningham said it probably won’t happen for a few months.

“It’s about six months when you start to see really noticeable change,” he explained.

If you run the light, the $97 ticket will be mailed to you within 10 days.

Frank Lucas, Liliha resident, said he likes that the cameras are there.

“Now that you have cameras, they got to abide by the rules, right,” Lucas said. “With inflation, nobody wants to pay ninety-seven dollar ticket.”

But, not everyone is convinced it’s enough.

Terry, who also lives in the Lilihia area, said he doesn’t think the ticket price is enough.

KHON: “Do you think that’s going to make them stop running the red light?”

“I don’t think so,” Terry said. “Even that one $97, and they still running the red light.”

Wong had this message for drivers.

“Slow down. Keep an eye out. Be courteous. Drive with aloha.”

The red light camera at the intersection of South Beretania and Piikoi Street started issuing warnings on Wednesday, March 29.

Several other locations will go online in April and May.

Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8

DOT said after the two-year pilot program is completed, lawmakers will decide whether to expand the program or discontinue it.

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