Report Shows Pedestrian Citations, Speeding Tickets Up In 2007

HONOLULU (KHNL) - From jaywalkers to drivers who failed to yield, the number of tickets issued for pedestrian law violations on Oahu soared last year. The number of speeding tickets also rose. 2007 was a busy year for Honolulu police.

A lot of pedestrians use crosswalks and obey traffic signals, but not all. A new report shows many received tickets for jaywalking last year.

"I got one on Hotel Street Mall," Peter Lenhart, pedestrian, said. "It's a popular place Downtown for police officers to cite pedestrians."

He says his citation was thrown out.

"Hotel Street Mall is a non-public street and, therefore, does not meet the definition of jaywalking," Lenhart said.

But violations do occur in other areas.

Two years ago, officers wrote up 1,952 tickets for jaywalkers and for drivers who failed to yield to pedestrians. Last year, that number skyrocketed to 9,412.

"I'm not surprised," Lynn Heslin, pedestrian said. "I think they should do more, especially in the Downtown area."

Responding to a string of pedestrian fatalities, police last year launched a public education campaign that included heightened enforcement. No doubt that effort contributed to the nearly five-fold increase in citations.

Officers were also busy trying to get drivers to slow down. In 2006, officers issued 44,492 speeding tickets. In 2007, that number climbed to 47,887.

People we talked to say they support the enforcement efforts.

"There's just so many cars on the road that it's just bound to, to have a lot more pedestrian fatalities and injuries," Lenhart said. "I guess the police officers feel they're doing what they need to do to try to reduce that."

The new report also shows increases in citations for unsafe lane changes, running red lights, and illegal parking.

There is good news in the traffic citations report. Fewer drivers and passengers got tickets for being improperly restrained.

In 2006, police issued 7,640 citations for violations involving seat belts and child restraints. Last year, the number dropped to 7,067.