Call the police when trucks scatter debris


POSTED: Thursday, April 02, 2009

Question: I was driving on the Moanalua Freeway recently, following a truck that was carrying leaves and shredded tree materials. The rubbish was uncovered and blowing out the back of the truck. I think this is considered littering at the very least. It doesn't seem right that taxpayers have to pay for the city to sweep up this private company's debris. Is there a law that requires that these loads be covered, at least with a tarpaulin? To whom would I report this incident?

Answer: Next time you see something like this, call the Honolulu Police Department at 911 immediately with a license number and other details.

Section 291C-133 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes covers “;Waste material falling from motor vehicles.”;

“;Waste material”; means rubbish, refuse, garbage, trash, tire debris, mufflers, tailpipes or debris of any kind. The driver is responsible for removing the fallen material.

If the driver is unable to remove the waste material from the roadway, or if removal would be hazardous, the driver is required to report “;without unnecessary delay”; the following information to police: description of the material; its location; the time it fell; and any other pertinent information.

If a driver knowingly refuses to remove the fallen waste material or fails to report the incident “;without unnecessary delay,”; he/she faces a maximum fine of $200 for the first violation, $300 for a second violation that occurs within one year of the first and $500 for a third or subsequent violation that occurs within a year of the first.


Q: At about 12:30 p.m. one day, I was heading Ewa on the H-1 freeway. As I approached the Zip Mobile Storage Garage, I noticed an unmarked HPD car with a blue dome only 100 feet ahead at a dead stop in front of me. The two officers were obviously providing support for the Zip Mobile, which was moving the cement locks to the side of the freeway. I immediately got over one lane.

Wouldn't it be safer and smarter for the Department of Transportation to have one of their employees with a truck with one of those large blinking yellow arrows on it facing oncoming traffic instead of an unmarked HPD vehicle with a little blue dome light? Surely, motorists would be able to see that large blinking yellow arrow from much farther away than the HPD vehicle.

A: According to the state Department of Transportation, having police officers with their blue-domed vehicles is not only standard practice, but it is believed to be safer than positioning a maintenance vehicle with blinking lights.

“;It is standard procedure for police vehicles to be present during the deployment and resetting of the Zipper barriers,”; said transportation spokeswoman Tammy Mori. Crews that work on high-speed freeways/highways find that motorists respond more quickly to the blue lights of a police vehicle than the yellow lights of a maintenance vehicle, she said.

Safety Systems Hawaii, contractor for the ZipperLane operation, uses HPD special-duty officers to “;shadow”; and protect workers and Zip Mobile crews. The officers are allowed to take this assignment even though a new HPD policy generally does not allow special-duty officers to be hired on long-term contracts (see ”;Kokua Line,”; March 19).


Write to “;Kokua Line”; at Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).