Traffic violations remain on record for 55 years
I received a $97 ticket -- a "notice of traffic infraction for unsafe lane change." It was the very first ticket I have ever received in my life. I went to the Traffic Violations Bureau and asked how long it would it stay on my driver's abstract and was told 55 years! As far as I know, a DUI stays on your record for only 10 years. Is it really true that even if I have received only one ticket in my life that it will really stay on my driver's abstract for 55 years?
Answer: It may surprise many people, but the answer is yes. At least for now.
"This applies to all motorists in the Judiciary's traffic database," said state Judiciary spokeswoman Marsha Kitagawa.
A moving violation like yours used to be kept on traffic abstracts for three years.
But after the federal government began requiring states to keep reports in their Judiciary databases for 55 years, Kitagawa said the Hawaii Judiciary also began keeping traffic abstracts "for as long as it is kept in the database."
She said that's because Sec. 287-3 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes requires that the abstract provide "all alleged moving violations and any convictions resulting therefrom," without any limitation as to time.
The Judiciary did make "several attempts" to amend Sec. 287-3 to limit the time period, but with no success, Kitagawa added.
"The rationale for the 55-year retention period is complex, but is mostly based on the fact that federal regulations concerning commercial driver's licenses requires the ability to report some aspects of driver history for that length of time," she said.
Again, although the 55-year period initially pertained to drivers with commercial licenses, it is being applied to all motorists.
We asked why the Judiciary's Web page explaining traffic abstracts -- www.courts.state.hi.us/page_ server/SelfHelp/Traffic/3D6E0323D9E451761075E15AAC5.html -- doesn't simply say that.
Basically, it's left a little vague because, at the time the schedule was written, "we did not know which governmental entity would be the official repository of the information."
Since then, the understanding is that the city Department of Information Technology has agreed to be the statewide repository for the state Department of Transportation.
"The Judiciary is trying to confirm this information," Kitagawa told us last week.
If the city agency in fact does agree to keep the information required by the federal government, a proposal to eliminate the requirement that all county Traffic Violations Bureaus keep and report certain violations for 55 years "may be submitted to the Supreme Court for its approval," Kitagawa said.
Meanwhile, your question led us to check the Judiciary's Web site on traffic abstracts, where, it turned out, erroneous and admittedly confusing information had been posted.
Information about the cost of a traffic court report was corrected and a new Web page was uploaded May 8, based on our queries, Kitagawa said.
"In addition, we updated the traffic abstracts Web page to better differentiate between a traffic abstract and a traffic court report," she said.
Direct contact/mailing information for the District Court Traffic Violation Bureaus on each major island also has been added.
You can purchase two types of documents from the Judiciary: a certified traffic abstract and a complete traffic court report.
The certified abstract contains all alleged moving violations and convictions, DUIs, and administrative license revocations as required by law. This abstract is the one usually used for insurance and employment purposes, Kitagawa said. It costs $7.
The traffic court report, which Kitagawa said is sometimes called a "complete" abstract, includes parking and equipment citations, as well as what's included in the traffic abstract. This report costs $1 for the first page and 50 cents for each additional page.
Check the Judiciary's Web site -- www.courts.state.hi.us -- for more information about the Judiciary and online records and services.
Manoa, Back Then ...
Reading your article about repaving problems on Lowrey Avenue (Kokua Line, May 5), I smiled to my wife and myself, recalling back when I was a youth in Manoa. In a book called "For Real," about my years with the Honolulu Police Department, I open with a chapter called "Growing Up A Brat" in the 1930s. What's it got to do with Lowrey Avenue and Kahawai Street? I mention how I borrowed ice blocks from the delivery man's truck, then sold ice water at 5 cents a day to about a dozen workers. The workers placed large rocks for a foundation in the taro patches and mud on Lowrey and Kahawai. Through the years since then, I have observed those two streets and others close by sink. The reason why: That's TARO land. So if they need new gutters and street resurfacing in 2008, tell me about it. Just a little history. -- Chris Faria, 89-year-old Manoa old-timer
Mr. Faria says he hopes to find a publisher soon for his book, which he said is "a true history with unbelievable tales" of his role as an undercover vice agent after Dec. 7, 1941, and later years as a "gung-ho, break their backs" gambling sergeant.
He said he also writes about 18 years in Waikiki, from the middle '40s to the '60s, "bouncing in and out of my vice action with some incredible stories in Paradise."
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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