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

Drive Time
Some snapshots on traffic-light camera issues

 •  Traffic warnings extended to Jan. 2

By Mike Leidemann
Advertiser Transportation Writer

You won't believe some of the things people are saying about the state's new program that uses cameras to catch speeders and red-light-running drivers in Hawai'i. Here's a sampling of opinion from our far-flung Drive Time correspondents:

• We should ask ourselves what is the ultimate goal? Is it to make our streets safer or generate revenues? Something must be done to make our streets safer. Unfortunately, I don't see this camera program as the answer. — Thearon Thurber.

• Is it impossible for anyone in our state government to just say "Oops! Bad idea" and move on? Perhaps move on to better enforcement of all the laws on the books. — Mike Rethman.

• The comment from DOT that 30 percent of the traffic was "over the limit" has to give pause. If they begin to issue anything like that percent of tickets, there will be a political revolt. — Claude Phillips.

• What would be so wrong with privatizing law enforcement in this town — as long as we get some enforcement? I'm really glad the DOT is doing what it's doing. — Michael Cashman.

• When is the state going to start tattooing numbers to our foreheads and tracking our movements with transmitters and GPS? — Vince.

• The issue is individual rights —the loss of one's presumption of innocence until proven guilty. If the state wants to go this way, why not let other motorists turn in the license plate numbers of people speeding and get a "bounty" for each? — Stefan Wenska.

• The problem, for me anyway, are the points that will go to your traffic abstract and cause your insurance to skyrocket. I've been making it a point to drive 2 to 5 mph below the posted limits. Other drivers are not happy, but I can't afford the cost. Have I gone too far and am I nuts? — Mike Ramsey.

• It would be a kick to see how many cops get a photo ticket. Honestly, I've seen more cops speeding, running red lights and cutting off people than any other category of people. If it's so important to break the law, at least turn on your siren and flashing blue lights. — Jeff.

• I've decided to hug the right lane, going at least 5 mph below the speed limit. In order to be safe at this speed, I intend to flash my hazard lights. Perhaps that can be a signal for all of us to express our outrage. — Bill Russell.

• What a scam. More than half of Hawai'i motorists speed to keep up with the rest of the traffic flow. — Truly Burned Up.

• The problem with raising insurance rates for photo enforcement citation recipients is the citation is against the registered owner, not necessarily the person actually driving the vehicle. — Charles Hirata.

• I was appalled at the reaction. Don't people see that a car can become a deadly weapon? If people do not want to "lose their privacy in their own cars" then they should follow the speed limit so their picture will not be taken. — Darlene Pires.

• May I ask to face my accuser in court? Isn't that a fundamental right of the accused? I've had many disagreements with my Sony digital video camera already. — Fred Barnett.

• I want to know if some people are given special privileges ... like police, some politicians, judges? Is there a way to confirm that all are treated equal? — Jeff Tyau.

• There is no constitutional right to drive. There is no constitutional right to own a car. Therefore, there is no civil rights issue. The debate is between the majority, who are for safety, and the minority, who are whiners. — Roger Sheetz.

Mike Leidemann writes about transportation issues. Call him at 525-5460, write him at The Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802 or e-mail mleidemann@honoluluadvertiser.com