The speeding myth and police reports

Q: It was my assumption that speeding citations are not issued unless the driver is exceeding the limit by at least 10 miles per hour. Is that true? I think it’s unfair that I was cited for traveling just 9 miles over.

• Vernon, Kalaheo

A: Aloha, Vernon, thank you for your question. This would be as good a time as any to clear up this myth because it has been around for as long as I have been a police officer. The issuance of speeding citations are generally based on several factors: erratic or unsafe driving, miles per hour over the posted speed limit, number of complaints received from the public, road conditions, number of serious traffic collision in a particular location, school zones and the like.

But remember that the main reason for issuing speeding, or any citation for that matter, is to make our roadways safer for drivers and pedestrians. It is not to make a quota; it is not to get promoted or get an increase in pay; it is not because the officer doesn’t like you; and it is not to punish. The citation is a means of educating the operator.

Here is a perfect example where education was the sole purpose of issuing a speeding citation. As a uniformed patrol officer back in the day, I issued a citation to a driver who was traveling 52 mph in a 50 mph zone. On the surface it would appear that the citation was unreasonable and some would say it was—well, let’s just say it has to do with chickens.

This is what happened: I was in a marked police cruiser similar to what you see today. It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning, traveling toward Moloa‘a from Kilauea at the 50 mph posted speed limit, headed back to Lihu‘e after the midnight shift.

A car approached from the rear and stayed behind for a few miles then overtook me. I glanced at my speed, and sure enough, I was doing the posted speed limit. After passing me, he began to accelerate to 55 mph. I stopped the car, and the operator stated that he was in a hurry. I could just imagine how fast and unsafe he would have driven if I were not on the roadway.

But to answer your question, there is no golden rule with a “10” mph grace speed before a citation is issued. If you exceed the posted speed limit; you are in violation. Will we issue a citation because you drove 2 mph over the speed limit? Probably not unless you pull a bonehead stunt like the driver I mentioned. However, you should know that the issuance of a citation would be at the discretion of the officer because, from a legal perspective, the officer would be justified according to statutes. However, we also take into consideration the “spirit” of the law and our main purpose of educating the public.

Additionally, our vehicles and speed detection equipment are calibrated to take precise measurements so that we don’t make an error. You may want to have your mechanic check your speedometer to make sure it is operating properly.

Q: I went down to the police station to get my police report, but they said they never have it. It was couple weeks before I got a copy. The lady said the officer never turn it in the first time I went. How come it takes long time?

• Calvin, Lihu‘e

A: Mahalo, Calvin. Generally cases are turned in on a daily basis after the officer’s tour of duty. However, it may take longer to complete an investigation if the case is a little more complex. An example would be an investigation that involves multiple suspects, witnesses, victims, evidence, crime-scene preservation, and other mitigating circumstances.

We take those issues into consideration, but the completion of an investigation should not be an unreasonable. If in the future you do experience problems like the one you mentioned, please e-mail me at and I will follow up on your behalf.

I am confident that you shouldn’t have anymore problems because our Records Section and officers are doing an outstanding job in turning in their reports and in catching up on our backlog.

• Darryl Perry is the chief of police at the Kauai Police Department. Send your comments or questions to


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