KAIMUKI, Hawaii (KHON2) — Those with expired safety checks are not alone.

Honolulu police said traffic officers have already issued thousands of citations for expired safety checks in 2023.

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The Hawaii Department of Transportation has a warning if the last couple digits on your safety sticker still have ’22.

“If your safety check does expire and you’re driving or parking a car out on the roadway, just know you are breaking the law.”

Jai Cunningham, Hawaii Department of Transportation spokesman

The owner of Kaimuki Auto Repair knows all about expired safety checks, especially in January.

“Yes, we see a lot of cars coming in during the New Year. They can’t get a safety check during that period. So, usually at the beginning and the ending of the month is the busiest time,” said Alan Nakamura, owner of Kaimuki Auto Repair.

Safety checks look at vehicle functions critical to driving such as blinkers, brake lights, tire tread health and more. Fines can run up to $100 if police catch a driver with expired safety. Cunningham said folks need to have some paperwork lined up before renewing.

“Two things that you absolutely have to have is you have to have the registration for the car, and you have to have the insurance. If you don’t have those two, the safety check’s gonna stop there,” Cunningham said.

Nakamura said mechanics have no judgment if customers come in with an expired safety. The entire purpose of renewing a safety check is to keep drivers on the road safe.

“It’s just that it’s, I guess, for their own good that they have it looked at. You know? There’s no penalty; we’re not gonna fine them or say anything,” Nakamura said.

“Unlike the registration, there’s no penalty unless they get caught.”

Alan Nakamura, Kaimuki Auto Repair owner

According to the Freeway Service Patrol, there were 2,142 vehicles that needed assistance due to a flat tire in 2022. Honolulu police said traffic officers issued 4,443 citations for expired safety from Sunday, Jan. 1 to Friday, Jan. 27.

Cunningham had some advice for drivers who do not want to be next.

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“As long as you have updated insurance, you’re gonna be fine. And, even if it’s a few months, six months, whatever the case, just go ahead and take it in and get that safety check updated. It’s important,” Cunningham said.