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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 8, 2002

Van cams spewed 18,954 citations

By Mike Leidemann
Advertiser Transportation Writer

Hawai'i's three-month experiment with traffic cameras resulted in 18,954 speeding citations before the program was shut down last month, final figures from the state judiciary show.

A higher speed limit of 60 mph is in effect on the stretch of H-1 Freeway between Kunia and the Kapolei area. On the Halawa side of H-3, the 60 mph limit will prevail soon.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

In the days before the program was abruptly ended, the number of citations accelerated quickly.

In the first five days of April, van cams generated 2,097 citations for speeding. Speeding violations recorded between April 6 and April 10, when the program was officially ended, were never put in the mail, state Transportation Department officials said.

The private vendor for the program issued 3,589 tickets in January, 3,600 in February and 9,668 in March. Most were dismissed because the drivers were under a 10 mph threshold used by the courts.

For the full 94 days in which the program was in operation, an average of 201 tickets were issued per day, about twice the number that Honolulu police say they normally issue for speeding.

Civil hearings for outstanding tickets are still being held in District Courts. Drivers who received a ticket before the end of the program must contest it either in person or in a letter to court, judiciary spokeswoman Marsha Kitagawa said.

"Some are even choosing to pay for their tickets," Kitagawa said. Final figures on how much money the program received in fees and fines won't be available for another month, she said.

Gov. Ben Cayetano ordered the program halted April 10, a day before the Legislature voted to repeal the law establishing the use of the cameras. The repeal became official last week.

State officials say they expect to end up paying ACS, State and Local Solutions, the camera vendor, between $1 million and $3 million for the early termination of the three-year contract.

Meanwhile, a new speed limit of 60 mph on H-1 Freeway is in effect, Transportation Department Traffic Branch manager Paul Hamamoto said. The change took effect when signs announcing the higher limits were posted last week.

New signs announcing a 60 mph limit on the Halawa side of H-3 Freeway are expected to be posted this weekend. A review of speed limits on H-2 Freeway and state highways is ongoing.

Legislators had ordered the Transportation Department to review speed limits on state highways in response to widespread criticism of speed limits here as being unreasonably low.