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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Wednesday, November 10, 1999


Drivers can’t leave
debris on roadways

Question: Why aren't drivers and companies operating large semitrailers and the like not required to clean up the remnants of tires whose retreads come apart on the freeway? It is a safety hazard for motorists and motorcyclists. If one were to be behind a truck as the tire came apart, it could do a lot of damage to a vehicle.

Also, why is it not illegal for large trucks to use retreads? Retreads haven't been used in passenger cars and light trucks for years. Using them on large, heavy vehicles poses more of a hazard.

Answer: Drivers are required to pick up any debris they leave on the roadway.

Act 145, relating to the traffic code, became state law in 1998 and says "a driver of a motor vehicle from which waste material falls onto a highway or roadway shall be responsible for the removal of the fallen waste material."

Waste material is defined as rubbish, refuse, garbage, trash, tire debris, mufflers, tailpipes or "debris of whatever kind or description." However, it "does not include material used by authorized persons in connection with any lawful purpose."

If a driver is unable to remove the debris or if removal would pose a hazard, "the driver shall report, without unnecessary delay," the situation to police.

A driver who knowingly fails to report the incident, "without unnecessary delay," faces possible penalties of $100 for the first offense and up to $500 for a third.

Meanwhile, retreads aren't necessarily worse or more hazardous than regular tires, according to experts.

"The key to (any tire) success is maintenance," said John Lovstedt, motor vehicle safety officer for the state Department of Transportation. "Tires are one of the poorest maintained items on all vehicles. People just tend to ignore them or take them for granted."

Lovstedt pointed out that school buses and big vehicles cannot use retreads on the front in Hawaii, but are allowed to have them on the back.

According to the Web site www.retread.com, maintained by a company that specializes in tire retreading in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, "Retreads are not only cost effective, but they are also dependable, reliable and safe."

They are used not only by truckers, but on commercial and military jets and by most school bus operators.

Q: Is the Merrie Monarch Festival still scheduled for the week after Easter? Please let us know as we are making plans for the event.

A: Yes, it is. The festival will be held April 23-29, 2000. For information, call the festival office in Hilo, (808) 935-9168, or write to Merrie Monarch Festival, c/o Hawaii Naniloa Hotel, 93 Banyan Drive, Hilo, HI 96720.

Mahalo

To a good Samaritan. One Sunday last month, my husband and I were driving to the car dealership for car repair. In the last block, our car died. A man stopped to help push our car to the dealership's driveway. In all the excitement, we didn't get a name or license number. -- No name

Auwe

To whoever stole outgoing mail from my mailbox in Village Park, Waipahu, on Oct. 8. You stole my checks, then tossed my statements back into the mail. This alerted the postmaster and I to your theft. This was a tough lesson. I will never mail anything from my mailbox anymore. -- Linda K.





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