Most speed cam fines still unpaid
|||Know your rights if you get a traffic-camera ticket|
By Mike Leidemann
Advertiser Transportation Writer
The state's photo traffic enforcement program generated 3,265 tickets in its first month of operations, but owners aren't exactly rushing to pay their fines.
Figures released this week show that only 456 of those who received citations in the mail in January have paid their fines; they have until their court dates later this month or March to pay them or risk increased fees.
Another 368 people returned their citations with written explanations or declarations that someone else was driving their vehicles at the time of the alleged speeding, according to state judiciary records.
The records cover the first 20 working days of the program in which high-technology lasers, cameras and computers are used to monitor traffic on state highways and identify cars exceeding the speed limit by at least 6 mph.
The busiest day of the program was Friday, Jan. 25, when the cameras generated 343 citations. The average number of citations was about 163 a day. Each citation comes with a fine that starts at $27 plus $5 for every mile over the speed limit.
Three state Senate committees are scheduled to vote this morning on a bill that would repeal most elements of the camera program, which has generated vigorous complaints from drivers all across O'ahu.
Senate leaders said there are probably enough votes to repeal the program, but late yesterday Sen. Ron Menor, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, said he would introduce a last-minute measure to strike a "compromise between the current photo enforcement system and a total repeal."
Menor, D-18th (Mililani, Waipi'o), said he would call for a moratorium on the program until July 2003, allowing lawmakers to get more input.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Calvin Say indicated state representatives would consider a repeal measure.
"At this point the caucus is open as far as doing some modifications, but if the Senate is really wanting to repeal it I think the House will be open to it," said Say, D-18th (Palolo, St. Louis, Kaimuki).