Hawaii’s safety check system down for hours after Indiana cable cut

Local News

If you weren’t able to get a safety check Tuesday morning, blame it on a contractor doing road work in… Indiana?

The state tells us a crew there accidentally damaged a fiber optic cable which put Hawaii’s entire safety check system offline for several hours.

It went down at around 7:30 a.m. and lasted around five hours. Every safety check station in the state had to turn customers away.

At Lex Brodie’s on Queen Street, manager Kekoa Nobriga says employees had to turn away 10 customers after realizing that the iPads they use to collect data to inspect the cars was not connecting online.

“The iPads are all connected to the (Department of Transportation), the state, so nothing is working right now,” Nobriga said.

It was a similar situation at Chevron in Manoa. Six customers were turned away.

Some are wondering how a statewide system could go down.

“They should at least have a backup system or something like that so that this kind of thing, if it does happen again, maybe they could at least still work it,” said mechanic Dane Saito.

Businesses say the bright spot is that this didn’t happen in the end or the beginning of the month, or there would be a lot more people in line waiting for their safety checks.

The state converted to the iPad system in November 2013, a move that’s supposed to make the system more efficient and foolproof.

As for how an incident in Indiana can affected the entire state of Hawaii, “the world is very small, especially when dealing with technology, and so when the Internet connection went down, we’re a customer so it went down for us as a whole,” said DOT spokesman Tim Sakahara.

Sakahara said damage to the Verizon cable disabled the server that provides Internet service to the safety check system in Hawaii. It’s not clear if other states had the same problem.

As far as a backup system, “the company was able to transfer our information and our connectivity to another server and in that case, we were able to get it back up and running in service in a few hours, so fortunately that kind of was our backup system,” Sakahara said.

On average, the state processes nearly 3,000 safety checks a day. So in those five hours, it’s safe to say several hundred customers were turned away.

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