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TWENTY-FOURTH LEGISLATURE, 2007
STATE OF HAWAII
S.B. NO. 1191
A BILL FOR AN ACT relating to pedestrian safety.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 8. The legislature finds that the prevalence of drivers violating Hawaii's traffic laws, especially on the island of Oahu, has become intolerable, particularly drivers who disregard red lights. These violations endanger the lives of motorists and pedestrians alike and compound the already hazardous conditions on Hawaii's roads and highways. It has become increasingly common to hear reports of hit-and-run drivers who have struck children or the elderly. Disregarding traffic signals has also been the common denominator in many recent, highly-publicized motor vehicle crashes that have claimed numerous lives.
The legislature further finds that in other jurisdictions in the United States and in Canada, Europe, and other countries throughout the world, a technological innovation, namely, the photo red light imaging detector system, has already demonstrated its reliability, efficiency, and effectiveness in identifying and deterring those who disregard red lights.
Photo red light imaging detector systems are safe, quick, cost-effective, and efficient. No traffic stop is involved; thus, police officers are not at risk from passing traffic or armed violators. A camera is positioned at intersections where red light violations are a major cause of collisions and serves as a twenty-four-hour deterrent to disregarding a red light. Sensors are buried under a crosswalk and lead to a self-contained camera system mounted on a nearby structure. When a vehicle enters the intersection against a red light, the camera takes a telephoto color picture of the rear of the vehicle, capturing the license plate. A second wide-angle photograph takes in the entire intersection, including other traffic and takes a picture of the driver of the vehicle.
These systems provide numerous benefits. Not only are streets safer, but police officers are also freed from the time-consuming duties of traffic enforcement and have more time to respond to priority calls. A violator is less likely to go to court, since the color photograph of the violation, imprinted with the time, date, and location of the violation, and the number of seconds the light had been red before the violator entered the intersection, can be used as evidence in court. Few cases are contested in other jurisdictions using this system, and officers make fewer court appearances, saving court costs.
The system may also result in lower insurance costs for safe drivers through an overall reduction in crashes and injuries and places system costs on the violators who have created the need for the program, not on law-abiding taxpayers. Traffic laws are enforced without partiality, and safety and efficiency are increased by reducing the number of personnel required for traffic accident clean-up, investigation, and court testimony.
The legislature finds that the photo speed imaging detector system created by Act 234, Session Laws of Hawaii 1998, and implemented in December 2001, generated intense public opposition. As a result of this opposition, the legislature repealed Act 234 in its entirety. However, the opposition to this program resulted largely from the implementation method of the program. The public perceived that the program was operated more to maximize revenue for the vendor administering the program than to improve traffic safety. In particular, camera vans were stationed at locations that did not necessarily have a history of speed-related accidents. They were used to monitor locations with heavy traffic flow at lower speeds. This situation permitted the vendor to issue the maximum number of citations in the shortest period of time and at the least cost, thereby maximizing the return to the vendor without improving traffic safety. The legislature finds that the photo red light imaging detector system program established by this part does not contain the same implementation flaws.
The purpose of this part is to:
(1) Establish a photo red light imaging detector system program to improve enforcement of the traffic signal laws;
(2) Allow counties to implement the photo red light imaging detector system program;
(3) Require fines collected under county programs to be deposited into a photo red light imaging detector system program account within the general fund;
(4) Require funds from this account to be expended in the county in which the fine was collected for the establishment, operation, management, and maintenance of the photo red light imaging detector system program; and
(5) Increase the time from forty-eight hours to seventy-two hours by which a citation must be mailed to the registered owner of a vehicle that illegally used a high occupancy lane.
SECTION 9. The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
PHOTO RED LIGHT IMAGING DETECTOR SYSTEM PROGRAM
§ -1 Definitions. As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
"County highway" has the same meaning as used in section 264-1.
"Department" means the department of transportation.
"Driver" has the same meaning as defined in section 291C-1.
"Motor vehicle" has the same meaning as defined in section 291C 1.
"Photo red light imaging detector system" means a device used for traffic enforcement to detect failure to stop at a red light that includes a motor vehicle sensor that works in conjunction with a traffic-control signal and a camera or similar device to automatically produce a photographic, digital, or other visual image of a motor vehicle whose driver has disregarded a steady red traffic-control signal in violation of section 291C 32, and a photographic, digital, or other visual image of the driver.
"State highway" has the same meaning as used in section 264-1.
"System" means the photo red light imaging detector system.
"Traffic-control signal" has the same meaning as defined in section 291C-1.
§ -2 Photo red light imaging detector system program; established. There is established the photo red light imaging detector system program, which may be implemented by any county on state or county highways within the respective county to enforce section 291C-32(a)(3).
§ -3 County powers and duties. Each county may establish and implement, in accordance with this chapter, a photo red light imaging detector system program imposing monetary liability on the driver of a motor vehicle for failure to comply with section 291C-32(a)(3). Each county may provide for the procurement, location, installation, operation, maintenance, and repair of photo red light imaging detector systems within the program. Where a photo red light imaging detector system affects state property, the department shall cooperate with and assist the county as needed to install, maintain, and repair the system.
§ -4 Photo red light imaging detector system program requirements. (a) Photo red light imaging detector system program equipment shall be operated from a fixed pole, post, or other fixed structure on a state or county highway.
(b) Signs and other official traffic-control devices indicating that the traffic signal law is enforced by a photo red light imaging detector system shall be posted on all major routes entering the area where the system is installed to provide, as far as practicable, notice to drivers of the existence and operation of the system.
(c) Proof of a violation of section 291C-32(a)(3) shall be as evidenced by information obtained from a photo red light imaging detector system. A certificate, sworn to or affirmed by the county's agent or employee, or a facsimile thereof, based upon inspection of photographs, microphotographs, videotape, or other recorded images produced by the system, shall be prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein. Any photographs, microphotographs, videotape, or other recorded images evidencing a violation shall be available for inspection in any proceeding to adjudicate the liability for that violation.
(d) No summons or citation issued pursuant to the photo red light imaging detector system program shall be issued unless it contains a clear and unobstructed photographic, digital, or other visual image of the driver of the motor vehicle.
(e) The conditions specified in this section shall not apply when the information gathered is used for highway safety research or to issue warning citations that do not involve a fine or court appearance, or affect a person's driving record.
§ -5 Summons or citations. (a) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, whenever the driver of any motor vehicle is determined by means of a photo red light imaging detector system to have disregarded a steady red signal in violation of section 291C 32(a)(3), the county shall cause a summons or citation, as described in this section, and which is postmarked within seventy-two hours of the time of the incident, to be sent by certified or registered mail to the registered owner of the vehicle at the address on record at the vehicle licensing division. If the end of the seventy-two-hour period falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or state holiday, then the summons may be postmarked on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or state holiday.
(b) The form and content of the summons or citation shall be as adopted or prescribed by the administrative judge of the district courts and shall be printed on a form commensurate with the form of other summonses or citations used in modern methods of arrest, so designed to include all necessary information to make the summons or citation valid within the laws of the State; provided that any summons or citation issued under this chapter shall contain a clear and unobstructed photographic, digital, or other visual image of the driver of the motor vehicle that is to be used as evidence of the violation.
(c) Every citation shall be consecutively numbered and each copy thereof shall bear the number of its respective original.
(d) Upon receipt of the summons or citation, the registered owner shall respond as provided for in chapter 291D. A mail receipt from the post office is prima facie evidence of the registered owner's receipt of notification. The registered owner shall be identified through the motor vehicle's registration plates.
(e) The county, or the county's agent or employee, shall be available to testify as to the authenticity of the information provided pursuant to this section.
§ -6 Registered owner's responsibility for a summons or citation. In any proceeding for a violation of this chapter, the information contained in the summons or citation mailed in accordance with section -5 shall be deemed prima facie evidence that the registered owner of the vehicle violated section 291C 32(a)(3).
§ -7 Prima facie evidence. (a) Whenever the photo red light imaging detector system determines the driver of a motor vehicle to be in violation of section 291C-32(a)(3), evidence that the motor vehicle described in the citations or summons issued pursuant to this chapter was operated in violation of section 291C-32(a)(3), together with proof that the person to whom the summons or citation was sent was the registered owner of the motor vehicle at the time of the violation, shall constitute prima facie evidence that the registered owner of the motor vehicle was the person who committed the violation.
(b) The registered owner of the vehicle may rebut the evidence in subsection (a) by any one of the following ways, including:
(1) Submitting a written statement as provided in section 291D-6(b)(2);
(2) Testifying in open court under oath that the person was not the driver of the motor vehicle at the time of the alleged violation;
(3) Calling witnesses to testify in open court under oath that the person was not the driver of the motor vehicle at the time of the alleged violation;
(4) Submitting extrinsic evidence that the person was not the driver of the motor vehicle at the time of the alleged violation;
(5) Presenting, prior to the return date established on the citation or summons issued pursuant to this chapter, a letter of verification of loss from the police department indicating that the motor vehicle had been reported stolen, to the court adjudicating the alleged violation; or
(6) Identifying the driver of the vehicle at the time of the offense.
§ -8 Failure to comply with summons or citation. If the registered owner of the motor vehicle does not return an answer in response to a summons or citation within a period of twenty-one days upon receipt of the summons or citation, the district court shall issue, pursuant to section 291D-7(e), a notice of entry of judgment of default to the registered owner of the motor vehicle.
§ -9 Liability for rental or U drive vehicle. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, if the registered owner of record is the lessor of a rental or U drive motor vehicle, as defined in section 286 2, pursuant to a written lease agreement, the lessee at the time of the violation shall be responsible for the summons or citation; provided that:
(1) The lessor shall be responsible for the summons or citation if the lessor does not provide the court having jurisdiction over the summons or citation with the name and address of the lessee within thirty days after a notice containing the date, time, and location of the violation and the license number of the vehicle is sent to the lessor; or
(2) If requested by the lessor in writing within thirty days of such notice of violation, the administrative judge of the court having jurisdiction over the summons or citation shall waive the requirement of providing the name and address of the lessee and impose on the lessor an administrative fee of $5 per citation plus costs and fees not to exceed $10 in total per violation notwithstanding any such law to the contrary.
§ -10 Fines for unauthorized disclosure. Any officer, employee, or agent of a county who intentionally discloses or provides a copy of personal and confidential information obtained from a photo red light imaging detector system to any unauthorized person or agency shall be fined not more than $ ; provided that the fine shall not preclude the application of penalties or fines otherwise provided for by law.
§ -11 Photo red light imaging detector system program account established. (a) There is established as a special account within the general fund, a photo red light imaging detector system program account, into which shall be paid revenues collected pursuant to this chapter.
(b) All fines collected under this chapter shall be deposited into the photo red light imaging detector system program account. Moneys in the account shall be expended by and in the county in which the fine was imposed, for purposes that include the establishment, operation, management, and maintenance of the photo red light imaging detector system program.
§ -12 Rules. The department shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 as may be necessary to implement this chapter."
SECTION 10. Section 291C-163, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) This chapter shall not be deemed to prevent counties with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction from:
(1) Regulating or prohibiting stopping, standing, or parking except as proŽvided in section 291C-111;
(2) Regulating traffic by means of police officers or official traffic-control devices;
(3) Regulating or prohibiting processions or assemblages on the highways;
(4) Designating particular highways or roadways for use by traffic moving in one direction;
(5) Establishing speed limits for vehicles in public parks;
(6) Designating any highway as a through highway or designating any intersection as a stop or yield intersection;
(7) Restricting the use of highways;
(8) Regulating the operation and equipment of and requiring the registration and inspection of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee;
(9) Regulating or prohibiting the turning of vehicles or specified types of vehicles;
(10) Altering or establishing speed limits;
(11) Requiring written accident reports;
(12) Designating no-passing zones;
(13) Prohibiting or regulating the use of controlled-access roadways by any class or kind of traffic;
(14) Prohibiting or regulating the use of heavily traveled streets by any class or kind of traffic found to be incompatible with the normal and safe movement of traffic;
(15) Establishing minimum speed limits;
(16) Designating hazardous railroad grade crossing;
(17) Designating and regulating traffic on play streets;
(18) Prohibiting pedestrians from crossing a roadway in a business district or any designated highway except in a crosswalk;
(19) Restricting pedestrians from crossing at unmarked crosswalks;
(20) Regulating persons propelling push carts;
(21) Regulating persons upon skates, coasters, sleds, and other toy vehicles;
(22) Adopting and enforcing such temporary or experimental regulations as may be necessary to cover emergencies or special conditions;
(23) Adopting maximum and minimum speed limits on streets and highways within their respective jurisdictions;
(24) Adopting requirements on stopping, standing, and parking on streets and highways within their respective jurisdictions except as provided in section 291C 111;
(25) Implementing a photo red light imaging detector system program pursuant to chapter ; or
(26) Adopting such other traffic regulations as are specifically authorized by this chapter."
SECTION 11. Section 291C-165, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:
"(b) In every case when a citation is issued, the original of the citation shall be given to the violator; provided that:
(1) In the case of an unattended vehicle, the original of the citation shall be affixed to the vehicle as provided for in section 291C-167; [or]
(2) In the case of:
(A) A vehicle using the high occupancy vehicle lane illegally; or
(B) A vehicle illegally sing a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities, where the violator refuses the citation,
the original of the citation shall be sent to the
registered owner of the vehicle at the address on
record at the vehicle licensing division within
seventy-two hours of the time of the incident; or
(3) In the case of a motor vehicle determined by means of a photo red light imaging detector system established pursuant to chapter , to have disregarded a steady red signal in violation of section 291C-32(a)(3), the original of the citation shall be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle at the address on record at the vehicle licensing division within seventy-two hours of the time of the incident.
If the end of the applicable seventy-two-hour period falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or state holiday, then the summons may be sent to the registered owner on the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or state holiday; provided that the administrative judge of the district courts may allow a carbon copy of the citation to be given to the violator or affixed to the vehicle and provide for the disposition of the original and any other copies of the citation."
SECTION 12. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2007-2008 for the purposes of establishing the photo red light imaging detector system program to be allocated as follows:
$ to the city and county of Honolulu;
$ to the county of Maui;
$ to the county of Hawaii; and
$ to the county of Kauai.
The sums appropriated shall be expended by the counties for the purposes of this part.
SECTION 13. It is the intent of this part neither to jeopardize the receipt of any federal aid nor to impair the obligation of the State or any agency thereof to the holders of any bond issued by the State or by any such agency, and to the extent, and only to the extent, necessary to effectuate this intent, the governor may modify the strict provisions of this part, but shall promptly report any such modification with reasons therefor to the legislature at its next session thereafter for review by the legislature.
SECTION 14. If any provision of this part, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the part which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end, the provisions of this part are severable.
SECTION 15. This part shall not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun, before the effective date of this Act.
SECTION 16. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 17. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2020.