Proposal to reduce frequency of safety checks works its way through legislature

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A state lawmaker wants to make it easier for you to get a car safety inspection.

Right now, drivers are required to get a safety check annually, but a proposal before the legislature would change that.

State Representative Richard Creagan introduced a bill and he told KHON2 he wants to see safety inspections for newer vehicles done on every other year instead.

It’s not a new concept, and has been proposed in various forms over past legislative sessions.

Long wait times and an overall inconvenience is what Creagan wants to do away with when it comes to safety checks.

“Scheduling the safety check, getting in there. The last time I did it I had to wait in line for about an hour and a half,” Cregan said.

To make it easier, Creagan is proposing any vehicle that’s six years or newer would only need to get a safety check done every two years.

Drivers would pay for the cost of two inspections up front. Vehicles older than six years would still have to get an annual inspection.

Creagan argues the limited hours and availability for safety checks create an undue hardship on Hawaii’s residents, but the state Department of Transportation (HDOT) disagrees.

They said inspections reduce the number of poorly maintained cars on the road.

HDOT submitted testimony saying the availability of stations on Oahu has actually gone up from 304 stations in 2011 to 373 stations in July 2017.

Creagan said that’s not the case for those in rural areas like Hawaii Island.

“There’s only one person within 30 or 40 miles that does this, so it can be very difficult to get this done,” he said.

Jonathan Natividad, a safety inspector at Jiffy Lube on Punchbowl, said his station had to switch to appointments only because the demand was actually hurting business.

“Because safety check is only a $20 average, it just brings down the sales if its just constant safety checks,” Natividad said.

Natividad said the bill has pros and cons.

“Some customers, they’ll be driving around, maybe bang a few things, break a tail light or they’ll keep driving til their tires are gone. Some customers, they just gas and go you know what I mean? We’ll never know until the car comes in,” Natividad explained.

This proposal has passed the House Transportation Committee and will be heard discussed during another committee meeting tomorrow.

We’ll let you know if it makes it through the legislature.Track the bill online:https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=1758&year=2018

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