Bill would eliminate special inspections for lowriders, lifted vehicles

Updated: Feb. 12, 2020 at 5:37 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Many car enthusiasts hope that a proposal to get rid of a special inspection for reconstructed vehicles gets the green light from state lawmakers.

They're tracking Senate Bill 213, which was passed by the Senate Transportation Committee last week.

Owners of reconstructed vehicles on Oahu need an inspection and a permit from a Kapahulu facility that is only open on weekdays from noon to 4 p.m.

Under the bill, drivers would still need to get a safety check.

Examples of reconstructed cars would include vehicles that have been lifted or lowered.

At last week’s committee hearing, Aaron Rideout was one of dozens of people who testified in favor of removing the added requirement for recon vehicles.

“I just feel it’s unnecessary. It doesn’t necessarily make the roads any safer,” said the Kalihi resident who imports mini trucks and vans from Japan for his business.

“The majority of owners that have reconstructed vehicles really care for their vehicles. They take the time to buy quality parts and they drive the cars carefully.”

The reconstructed vehicle inspection is not required on the neighbor islands.

The state Department of Transportation also supports eliminating the extra inspection.

“When we looked at the data on the accidents that occurred throughout the islands, throughout the state in the last 10 years, we didn’t see any high level of contribution for recon vehicles causing accidents,” said Ed Sniffen, the state’s highways division deputy director.

Opponents, including the Hawaii Insurers Council and the Honolulu Police Department, want to put the brakes on the bill.

"We're just concerned about the safety aspects of what a motorist could do to their vehicles - put it on a public highway and cause a hazard to other vehicles," said Maj. Calvin Tong of the Honolulu Police Department.

State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro introduced the proposal.

"We're open to hearing both the pros and cons of whether or not the reconstructed car inspections should be eliminated," she said.

The measure has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but a hearing has not been scheduled.

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