Red-Light Safety Program

Map showing intersections that will be studied.

Map showing intersections that will be studied.

Summary

Red-light running is a significant cause of crashes, deaths, and injuries at signalized intersections. Statewide, between 2015 and 2020 there have been 1,879 crashes as a result of red-light and other traffic signal violations.

Hawaii is one of 26 states that does not use automated traffic enforcement on their public roads. Federal data suggests that automated traffic enforcement can reduce costs of enforcement, lessen the danger of enforcement for officers, and increase the perception of drivers that there are consequences to violating traffic laws.

History

  • 2019 – Act 131 was introduced as Senate Bill 663 in the 2019 Legislature. Act 131 (19) established a red-light running committee made up of representatives from the courts, public defender’s office, state highway safety council, county police departments, prosecutors offices, state and county transportation agencies, and community traffic safety advocates. The resulting report from that committee can be found here.
  • 2020 – Based on the committee recommendations, Act 30 (20) authorized a two-year pilot to determine if automated enforcement of red-light running could reduce crashes and injuries.
  • February 2022 – HDOT and the City and County of Honolulu Department of Transportation Services selected potential intersections for the pilot based on crash and traffic data. Engineering studies to determine the final locations for installation have begun.
  • September 2022 – The Vineyard Boulevard and Palama Street intersection and the Vineyard Boulevard and Liliha Street intersection have been selected. More information here.

Sample Incident Process

  1. Incident occurs. Images are captured by the system, recorded, and encrypted. Each file includes multiple still images, video, and data relating to the potential red-light violation.
  2. Data transfers to the vendor processing center for preliminary screening (for example, does the captured data show a violation, matching DMV license plate data). Only potential violations are sent forward for additional screening.
  3. Honolulu Police Department (HPD) reviews and makes the final decision whether to approve or reject the violation.
  4. Approved violations are queued for printing and mailed within 10-days of the incident.
  5. Violator can review the data on the online portal (after receiving the citation in the mail). Data available for review includes the images and video captured by the system. Payments, questions, evidence explaining or denying the violation, and court hearing requests may be submitted via the portal.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Will the citation amount for the photo citations be the same as those issued manually by a police officer?
    Yes, the fine for a first-time red-light running violation is up to $200. See https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol05_Ch0261-0319/HRS0291C/HRS_0291C-0161.htm for penalties for subsequent violations.
  2. Will the Honolulu Police Department review the photos prior to a citation being issued?
    Yes, see sample incident process.
  3. Can the system take a photo of the driver and cite the driver instead?
    No, due to privacy concerns Hawaii Revised Statute Chapter 291J-7 specifies the responsibility of the registered owner of the motor vehicle for red-light running violations.
  4. Where do the fines go? Does the vendor get a portion of the fine?
    All fines collected under HRS Chapter 291J shall be deposited into the photo red light imaging detector systems program special fund. The fund can only be used for the establishment, implementation, operation, oversight, repair, and maintenance of the red-light safety camera system. The vendor is not paid based on the number of citations given by the system (see HRS 291J-4).

Resources and Documents