Growing number of drivers call on state to scrap safety checks - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Growing number of drivers call on state to scrap safety checks

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Besides testing a vehicle's operating condition, safety checks zero in on defects. 

Scott Williams, executive director of Lex Brodie's Tire, Brake & Service Company, said the program is invaluable.

"If we stop inspecting cars we are going to have more breakdowns. We are going to have heavier traffic," he said.

But there's a growing call underway to scrap safety checks for Hawaii cars.

About 3,600 Hawaii vehicle owners have already signed an online petition urging the state to eliminate safety checks or require them less frequently.

State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, a member of the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee, started the drive.

"Many of them feel as if the checks aren't checking things that are going to prevent accidents," she said.

Inspections for safety checks are exhaustive, checking multiple things including a vehicle's suspension, fuel system and window tinting.

But the U.S. Government Accountability Office said there's little difference in crash rates in states with or without safety checks. 

Local drivers, meanwhile, have mixed feelings.

"It just makes me feel assured that someone's checking on the cars because I can't check on everybody's car," driver Joey Acuncion said.

Suzanne Field said, "I think most people here understand and are responsible enough to take care of their vehicles without being told do so."

The petition presses the state to rethink safety checks.

But state transportation officials are against dropping Hawaii's program, saying defective cars jeopardize safety and increase traffic tie-ups.

In 2016, there were about 1 million safety check inspections done statewide, about 669,000 on Oahu.

Of that number, 374,653 failed statewide with 164,189 not passing the test on Oahu.. The biggest reason for failing? Lack of vehicle registration. 

Another big problem was defective vehicle lights.

"At least for the community, it's some sort of assurance that some of the vehicles are being checked and the vehicle has valid no-fault insurance," said DerrickTolentino, of DT Automotive.

Shimabukuro thinks that short of scrapping the entire system, having a safety check expire on the same date as a vehicle's registration could make it more convenient for drivers.

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