County lacks annual mo-ped inspections
I live on a small street of Liliha and am really bothered by noisy retrofitted mo-peds. I have reported them to police several times, but they are still disturbing the neighborhood. Are they legal? How do police identify retrofitted mo-peds? What penalty do they receive once caught?
Answer: Ideally, police say, any illegal modification to mo-peds would be caught during annual inspections.
But while the state Department of Transportation points to a law requiring all counties to enforce the law mandating the inspections, only Hawaii and Maui counties have annual mo-ped inspection programs.
"The counties have the responsibility of implementing the program with the oversight and financial assistance of the state," said an official with the Transportation Department's Motor Vehicle Safety Office.
Honolulu and Kauai counties do not have any such program, he said. That is supposedly because there is not enough money or staff to do so.
However, a Honolulu official says the reason is that no one wants to operate an inspection station.
At this point no one is pushing for the annual inspections, set forth in Chapter 291C-202 (2)(c) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes: "The director of transportation by rules and regulations ... shall establish criteria and procedures for the annual safety inspection of every mo-ped."
While the Transportation Department has developed the required rules, "as I understand it, (it was) over the objections of motorcycle/mo-ped dealers and repair shops," said Dennis Kamimura, administrator of the city Motor Vehicle and Licensing Division.
That is significant because no one has applied to be a mo-ped inspection station, he said.
"If there are no inspection stations, how can (the Honolulu Police Department) cite these vehicles for not having a safety inspection?" Kamimura said. "It is the state DOT's responsibility to urge qualified mo-ped inspection stations to apply for the license -- it is not the county's responsibility."
The Transportation Department official, meanwhile, said that whether or not there is an inspection program, police have the authority to issue citations for noisy mo-peds under Chapter 291-24 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. The penalty is a maximum $100 fine.
"We understand (the public's) frustration," said Capt. Jeffrey Richards, executive officer for HPD's Waikiki Station. "We know it is a comfort-of-life type of issue, especially in Waikiki with all of the high-rises ... (and) we do address it when we see it and when we hear it."
The problem is that police have to see the actual violation, he said. But, by the time a complaint "goes through the chain of priority calls," the noisemakers usually have disappeared.
Meanwhile, there were proposals during the recent state legislative session to crack down on noisy mo-peds, including having police carry decibel meters and impound vehicles.
But HPD opposed the measures, basically because "they opened up the proverbial can of worms," Richards said. The measures did not pass.
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