Kokua Line

June Watanabe

New cars now carry
2-year safety checks

Question: While driving around Honolulu, I've noticed many new vehicles with green-colored safety check stickers good for two years. What is the story behind the two-year safety checks?

Answer: A new state law, effective July 1, 2003, allows safety check inspections for brand new cars to be good for two years.

After that, it reverts back to the one-year annual inspections, explained an official with the city's Division of Motor Vehicle & Licensing.

The two-year period begins on or before the date the vehicle was first sold in Hawaii, according to an official with the state Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Safety Office.

This may get complicated because car dealers typically inspect vehicles well in advance of the date they are first sold and registered, he said.

For example, there could be cases in which someone who purchased a new vehicle after July 1, 2003, finds a one-year safety decal affixed to the vehicle.

"In this situation, the dealer must update the inspection to the date first sold and affix stickers that will accommodate a two-year period," according to the official.

Specifically, Hawaii Revised Statutes 286-26 (b), states, "... any vehicle to which this section applies shall not require inspection within two years of the date on which the vehicle was first sold."

If a new car owner were to somehow register a vehicle that was first sold in Hawaii after July 1 but had inspection stickers and documentation of only one year, the vehicle could be returned to the dealer for reinspection.

After the inspection, two-year stickers would be placed on the vehicle and the two-year period would begin on the date first sold. So, if the vehicle were bought on July 15, 2003, but was reinspected in September, the month sticker would be for July, not September.

The dealer, meanwhile, has the right to charge a maximum of $14.70 for the updated inspection, according to the DOT official.

The two-year inspection is good only for vehicles purchased in Hawaii.

It doesn't matter if someone buys a new car today in Michigan and has it shipped to Hawaii before ever registering it. If the vehicle arrives in Hawaii this month and it is inspected this month, it would be given only a one-year safety inspection, with the month sticker of "9," for September.

"The motor vehicle registration offices (in each county) check the bill of sale and shipping documents of vehicles brought in from another state and will register an out-of-state new car only if it has a one-year inspection," the DOT official said.

The two-year inspection also applies to new trailers and motorcycles, but does not apply to mopeds, because mopeds have their own inspection law and set of inspection rules.

Also effective July 1, trucks, truck-tractors, semitrailers and pole trailers with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds; buses; rental or U-drive motor vehicles two years or older; and taxicabs can receive safety checks good for one year.

Previously, ambulances; trucks, truck-tractors, semitrailers and pole trailers heavier 10,000 pounds; rental or U-drive vehicles one year or older; and taxicabs had to have safety inspections every six months.

The six-month inspection still holds for ambulances.


To an "Angel in Disguise." I'm writing to you from the Oahu Community Correctional Center. On Aug. 7, I went for an appointment at Queen Emma Clinic. I was sitting in my OCCC uniform in the waiting room, with an ACO (adult correctional officer) on either side of me.

As ashamed as I felt in my uniform, my eyes turned to an older man and his companion as they walked out of the doctor's room. He walked towards me, looked me in the eyes and told me, "Good luck to you and God bless you."

I responded with tears running down my face, saying "thank you."

He then said, "I was there once. I know you'll get out" and he left the office.

Where this man came from, I don't know, but there was a reason for him being there. He touched my heart clearly and instilled a lot of hope into my heart that was never there.

Being a prisoner makes one lose a lot of herself and I just wanted to share my blessings with you. This stranger was my "angel in disguise" that day and wherever you are, I thank you very much. -- D. Chang


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --