New safety check changes to reduce backlog, fight fraud - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New safety check changes to reduce backlog, fight fraud

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - High-tech changes are coming for auto safety checks. The program includes a fee increase and new rules to keep unsafe vehicles from getting that all-important sticker. There are more than 700 safety inspection stations in Hawaii. Frank Young of K & Y Auto Service believes the regulations will help put the brakes on fraud.

"When you see these illegal cars on the road these lifted trucks and you wonder how they have safety checks, now you have to take a picture of the vehicle which is going to make it a lot more difficult for these illegal cars to stay on the road," said Young.

The switch to an electronic system should make it tougher for drivers with defective cars to shop around until they pass.

"If he goes someplace else it's going to be in the system that he was rejected," said Young.

The contractor, Parsons Environment & Infrastructure Group, will provide each station with a free i-Pad that is connected to a central database, a wireless router, special printer, and an on-going supply of stickers. The changes will also eliminate the backlog created by paper forms, according to state officials.    

"Because of the paper copies that have to be inputted by hand, there's a delay a lot of times when people go to register their car online so the new system will streamline that," said Department of Transportation spokesperson Caroline Sluyter.

The new technology will cost drivers more money. The price of a safety check for cars and trucks will go up nearly $5 to $19.19 plus tax. The fee jumps to $13.24 plus tax for motorcycles. The money from the fee hike will be split, with $1.70 going to the state for administration and enforcement of the program, $1.69 to the contractor for the equipment and training, and an extra $1.10 to the inspection station. Parsons' only compensation is coming from its share of the fee. Sluyter said the price hasn't been raised since the 1980's.

"I don't really know what to think. I just think it's more money coming out. For whatever reason, doesn't really matter, just more money going to somebody," said North Shore resident Kevin Spellers.

"My gut feeling is it's going to speed up the process of getting cars in and out quicker. We don't have to fill out the forms that we used to. Everything is going to be electronic," said John Kelly of Lex Brodie's Tire Company.

Some stations, however, aren't thrilled about the mandatory program.

"There were people who were shaking their head, didn't want to be part of it. I know of one person, actually two now they didn't sign up," said Kelly.

The state hopes to launch the program on November 1. There will be a public hearing on the proposed changes at 11 a.m. on October 10 at the DOT 5th floor conference room, 869 Punchbowl Street. Neighbor island residents can participate by video conference at the following locations:

Maui: DOT Highways Division Maui District Office Conference Room, 650 Palapala Drive

Hilo: DOT Highways Division, District Office Conference Room, 50 Makaala Street

Kona: Kona International Airport Conference Room, 73-200 Kupipi Street

Kauai: DOT Highways Division, District Office Conference Room, 1720 Haleukana Street

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