Auto window decal rules create confusion, hurt local business

Auto window decal rules create confusion, hurt local business

PEARL CITY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kanoa Dilcher is a success story.  He's a local business owner who manufactures his goods in Hawaii.  His store, Island Silver, specializes in custom "car jewelry", namely decals.

"We love what we do, we grow every day, we're always coming out with new ideas" he said.

However, since vehicle safety inspectors have become more strict on which window decals are permissible and which are not, Dilcher says his customers and business have come unglued.

"I've had a couple customers confused on the law, almost came in here distraught".

Dilcher says that not only is the law confusing, but the enforcement of it lacks uniformity.

"One [person] was told to scrape it off by an inspector.  I had a customer come in yesterday with a car with a sticker on her window and she had passed her safety check" he said with a shrug.

Hawaii News Now was supplied the latest version of the law by the State Department of Transportation.

It is posted below with notable exceptions to the rule highlighted for ease:

     §291-21.5  Regulation of motor vehicle sun screening devices; penalty.  (a)  No person shall operate, permit the operation of, cause to be operated, or park any motor vehicle on a public highway if the glazing material of the motor vehicle:

     (1)  Does not meet the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 205 in effect at the time of its manufacture; or

     (2)  Is used in conjunction with sun screening devices not exempted from this section by subsection (d) hereof.

     (b)  No person shall install, mount, adhere, affix, or use any sun screening device or combination of devices in conjunction with the glazing material of a motor vehicle which does not meet the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 205 in effect at the time of the glazing material's manufacture except as provided in this section.  Any person who violates this section shall be liable for the removal of any sun screening device applied contrary to this section.

     (c)  A safety inspection required under section 286-25 shall include a test to ensure that the glazing material and any sun screening devices meet the requirements specified in this section.

     (d)  This section shall not apply to:

     (1)  Rearview mirrors;

     (2)  Adjustable nontransparent sun visors which are mounted forward of the side windows and are not attached to the glazing material;

     (3)  Signs, stickers, or other materials which are displayed in a seven-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver or signs, stickers, or other materials which are displayed in a five-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest the driver;

     (4)  Rear trunk lid handle or hinges;

     (5)  Window wipers and window wiper motors;

     (6)  Transparent sun screening film materials which are installed, affixed, or applied along the top edge of the windshield so long as such materials do not encroach upon the AS-1 portion of the windshield as provided by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 205 or no lower than four inches below the top of the windshield, when measured from the middle point of the bottom edge of the top windshield moulding if no AS-1 markings can be found in the left or right upper margin of the windshield;

     (7)  Sun screening devices for front side wing vents and windows which, when used in conjunction with the glazing material have a light transmittance of no less than thirty-five per cent plus or minus six per cent;

     (8)  Sun screening devices for side windows necessary for driving visibility which are to the rear of the driver and for rear windows necessary for driving visibility which, when used in conjunction with the glazing material, have a light transmittance of no less than thirty-five per cent plus or minus six per cent;

     (9)  Side windows which are to the rear of the driver and rear windows on vans, minivans, trucks, or buses; provided that the vehicles are equipped with rearview mirrors on both sides;

    (10)  Privacy drapes, curtains, or blinds, or any combination, installed on the interior of motor homes; or

    (11)  Transparent sun screening materials, when applied to the AS-1 portion of the windshield, which meets the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 205.

     (e)  Any person who violates this section shall be fined:

     (1)  Not less than $250 or more than $500 for each separate offense if the person is the owner of the motor vehicle which is in violation; and

     (2)  Not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 for each separate offense if the person or business entity is the installer of any sun screening device which does not meet the requirements of this section.  The installer shall also reinstall sun protective devices which comply with this section, free of charge, or reimburse the motor vehicle owner for the cost of installing sun protective devices by another installer which comply with this section.

The receipt from the installer in the possession of the person in the motor vehicle at the time of the issuance of the citation shall be prima facie evidence of the identity of the installer.  The installer shall issue a certificate to the vehicle owner at the time the sunscreen device is installed certifying that the device complies with law.  The certificate shall be stored in the motor vehicle at all times. [L 1983, c 294, pt of §2; am L 1986, c 188, §2; am L 1989, c 54, §1; am L 2004, c 227, §1; am L 2010, c 103, §1] 

While the law is clearly stated, Kanoa says interpretation is not.  He hopes the law changes.  In the meantime, he thinks safety inspectors should lighten up.

"Unless it's covering the whole windshield, let it go".

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