Safety checks should catch illegal tinting
As a private citizen, I am concerned about the number of vehicles that appear to have illegal tint on their windows. I recently was stopped at a stoplight, and I could not even see into the SUV's windshield behind me! I would think this would be of grave concern to law enforcement officials because if you cannot see in, you have no idea what that person is doing or getting ready to do. Will the Honolulu Police Department take complaints from citizens and check out such possible violations? How are these vehicles passing safety inspections?
Answer: If the tinting is too dark, the violation should be caught during a safety inspection, the primary checkpoint.
However, the Honolulu Police Department also is on the lookout for illegal tinting. So far this year, HPD has handed out 2,414 citations, according to spokesman Capt. Frank Fujii.
The Star-Bulletin reported in June that HPD issued 2,934 citations last year and 4,398 in 2003, while 865 Honolulu motorists failed their vehicle safety inspections because of tinting problems between January and April of this year. Safety checks resulted in 2,500 denials because of tinting in 2004 and 2,925 in 2003.
The HPD crackdown on too-dark windows began in 2002, when HPD obtained 20 light meters. They now have 100 of them.
Although the motor vehicle tinting law dates back to 1983, police did not have any way to verify whether suspected illegal tints actually were in violation of state standards without the meters.
While tinting is not allowed on windshields, as much as 65 percent of light may be blocked by tinting, under state law.
Fujii said people who want to report a possible tint violation can call police at 911.
"That would be OK," he said, but added that it would depend on what else is going on at the time.
Unless a police officer "happened to be around the corner (of the reported vehicle) and everything was slow," a call like that would be of relative low priority.
As more evidence that officials do consider illegal tinting a serious concern, the fine for violations increased in January to $287 from $97.
I drive from the Windward side to town over Pali Highway almost daily. Over the years, I've seen the section of road lined with pine trees get decorated for Christmas and all sorts of occasions. They're very festive and fun. But the past couple of years, a number of these decorations have accumulated because the people who put them up did not return to take them down. Mahalo to whoever took the initiative to clean the area recently. It is greatly appreciated. It looked like some of the decorations were very high and would have required ladders or special equipment to get down. -- Windward Resident
Credit should go to the state Department of Transportation's Windward maintenance crew and its supervisor, Clarence Preston.
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