A warning from HPD: Officers will ticket, tow vehicles that stop on freeway to watch fireworks
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police officers will ticket and tow vehicles that stop on freeways to watch fireworks this New Year’s Eve.
The department says there will be a zero tolerance policy, adding it’s the most dangerous place you can take your family.
Come midnight, a roar of explosions will likely rock just about every neighborhood on Oahu.
Although illegal, amateur fireworks shows are a tradition — one police say has gotten way out of hand.
“Last year, the freeway was a big issue,” said Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan.
“There were hundreds of vehicles,” said HPD Capt. James Slayter. “You had families, small children. They had tents, tables, chairs. I was so grateful we didn’t have a traffic fatality.”
This year, the department says it’s stepping up enforcement in an effort to keep the freeways clear.
“We will have solo bike officers out there. Night enforcement officers out there,” Slayter said. “You can be cited and or your vehicle towed or possibly even arrested depending on the circumstances.”
Chief Logan added, “Our officers will be out there enforcing all traffic laws available to them.”
Plainclothes officers will also be patrolling the island looking for people setting off fireworks.
“Basically trying to catch people in the act,” said Slayter. “Because that’s the way we can actually give a citation for it.”
Last New Year, HPD says it responded to approximately 800 fireworks calls. Officers issued 32 citations and made one arrest.
“This area has been pretty bad every year,” said Alewa Heights resident Dean Omuro. “You hear them all the time. Kind of randomly through the night. Or even during the day time.”
Abbey Nicholson added, “I feel like this has always been a problem and it keeps getting worse.”
Some residents say more needs to be done to prevent property damage.
In July, illegal fireworks are believed to have started a large brush fire in Maili.
Explosions can also frighten pets and trigger people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
Anyone caught using or in possession of fireworks can face up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
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