Kokua Line

June Watanabe

‘Majority’ can avoid
tests for driver's license

Question: Is it correct that to renew my driver's license, I just need to get an eye exam and they look to see if I am OK? I do not have to take a written test, drive my car and am not asked questions about the driving laws?

Answer: For the most part, yes.

According to the city's procedures for renewing your Hawaii driver's license, you are to report to the processing station to fill out an application, take an eye test, be fingerprinted, pay a fee and be photographed.

That holds for "the majority of applicants," according to Dennis Kamimura, administrator of the city Motor Vehicle and Licensing Division. "Rare exceptions" include a court-ordered written or road test for renewals, or a state Medical Advisory Board recommendation for a road test, he said.

As for "look(ing) to see if I am OK," the eye exam is to check whether your vision is 20/40 or better (corrected or uncorrected), Kamimura said.

You can renew your license up to six months in advance of its expiration. The cost of renewal is $6 for two years; $12, four years; and $18, six years.

New licenses or renewals are good for two years for drivers 72 and older and six years for those between 18 and 71. New licenses issued to minors 16 and 17, who have completed mandatory driver's education and behind-the-wheel training, are good for four years.

There's a 90-day grace period for renewals; you are charged a $5 reactivation fee for each 30-day period.

Q: Is parking in metered municipal lots ever free? Signs say "No Exceptions," but on holiday schedules released by the city, it sometimes says parking is not free, e.g., Christmas 2003; while other times, nothing is said, e.g., New Year's Day 2004. I would guess that "No Exceptions" means just that, but I've noticed that a lot of people don't feed the meters on holidays.

A: "Parking regulations are as posted at city parking facilities," a city spokeswoman said. That means you are required to feed the meters whenever you're parked in a municipal parking lot or facility, including holidays.

A city spokeswoman says they'll try to be more consistent with information given in news releases.

Rates are the same seven days a week, no matter if it's a weekend or holiday, at metered parking lots. The charge is either 50 cents or $1 an hour, except for the lot at Salt Lake. There the charge is either 25 cents for two hours or 10 cents an hour for a maximum 10 hours (whatever is posted on meters).

In city lots monitored by attendants, the parking fee might vary according to the day.

For example, at the Alii Place parking garage at Alakea and Richards streets, the charge is 50 cents a half-hour for the first two hours, then $1 a half-hour thereafter, 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The charge is reduced to 25 cents a half-hour -- for a maximum $2 -- 5 p.m.-midnight Monday-Friday, and from 6 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, Sunday and holidays. There's also the option of paying a public monthly fee of $155 for Alii Place.


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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