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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Traffic warnings extended to Jan. 2

 •  Some snapshots on traffic-light camera issues

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Amid growing public criticism of a new motorist photo-enforcement system, the state says it will extend a warning period until Jan. 2.

"This will give us more time to respond to questions and allow the public to become more comfortable with photo enforcement," state Transportation Director Brian Minaai said.

That may also allow drivers to become comfortable with the "margin of error" before a ticket is issued.

Minaai said that margin of error would be around 10 percent above the posted limit. He declined to be more specific.

Telling motorists exactly how much they could speed may convince some drivers that speeding is permissible, he said.

"That would be sending the wrong message because it is not OK to speed," Minaai said. "Motorists who obey the speed limit have a statistically proven better chance of arriving safely at their destination than those who drive faster than the posted speed limit."

Transportation spokeswoman Marilyn Kali said there were 30 to 40 calls about the threshold.

"We are looking for zero tolerance," she said. "As far as we are concerned, speeding is speeding. But to give just a little leeway for inaccurate speedometers, we are willing to concede we won't give a ticket if they are traveling at less than 10 percent over the speed limit."

During the initial warning period, Dec. 3-14, the new speed-enforcement equipment checked 42,554 vehicles. Of that, 9,112 vehicles were speeding, but only 2,957 warnings were mailed.

The photo-enforcement system uses cameras and computers to nab speeders and drivers who run red lights.