Living in a car breaks the law when it’s done on public roads
I read your column about it being against the law to live or sleep in a car on public streets. Where can I get information about the law and specifically, what can get you cited by the HPD?
Answer: The situation is covered under Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 291C-112, which says:
"No person shall use any vehicle for purposes of human habitation, whether or not the vehicle is designed or equipped for that purpose, while the vehicle is parked on any roadway, street, or highway or other public property between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. or while the vehicle is parked on private property without authorization of the owner or occupant authorizing both the parking of the vehicle there and its use for purposes of human habitation."
Human habitation is defined as using the vehicle for a dwelling or sleeping place.
The law does not apply to people inhabiting vehicles in parks, camps or other recreational areas "in compliance with law and applicable rules and regulations, or under emergency conditions in the interest of vehicular safety."
If officers see someone sleeping in a vehicle, whether the person is cited depends on the situation, said HPD Capt. Frank Fujii.
"Realistically, we'll go and check on the person (because) we're going to be concerned about (his or her) welfare," he said. If someone is simply sleeping in a vehicle, they'll see if the person is able to drive away safely before making any determination, he said.
"But, the bottom line is that it is against the law."
Q: Our daughter is starting kindergarten in the fall. As two working parents, we have applied to several public schools in town. Most are welcoming and offer "prospective parents" a tour, but Maemae Elementary School basically told us to "bug off." I was told to come after school was pau and walk the grounds by myself. It's extremely difficult to make the right choice for your child if you can't see the school and meet some of the staff. Is this "closed door" policy allowable for a public school?
A: Contact the school again, although you probably are aware that the deadline for applying for a "Geographic Exception" at Maemae and other public schools has passed. The GE application period is Jan. 1 through March 1.
There apparently was a misunderstanding or a miscommunication about visiting the school, said Maemae Principal Pearline Blaisdell.
Tours are not allowed during the school day, because it's felt such visits would be disruptive to the children. But parents are welcome to come after school, "and somebody could show them around," Blaisdell said.
You can also ask to meet with Blaisdell or the vice principal to get information about the school and about how geographic exceptions are handled.
She said clerks at the front desk of the office also "are very informative, because they're the ones the GEs come to."
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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