When reporting vehicle noise issues to HPD if you supply them with a license plate would they be able to do anything with that information to cite the responsible party? How about a video? The vehicle would most likely have departed the scene prior to any officer responding.
Appreciate any advice.
Quieter O'ahu Response:
Yes, you can certainly provide the license number to the HPD Officer responding to your complaint. Most times they will tell you there's nothing they can do as the Officer has to have witnessed the offense. You can also provide a video of the offense. HPD has made allowance for submission of video evidence and the Officer responding to your complaint can explain how that works. In the case of noise complaints, however, even with video evidence, the next question from the Officer will likely be "How do I know that this is too loud?" Depending on the specific violation there is a broad difference in the wording of Ordinances and Statutes on "what" constitutes a "violation" of the ordinance or statute. Sometimes it says, for example, "louder than originally equipped from the factory." Well, what does that mean and how would you prove it is a violation with a video? If it says that in excess of xx Decibels is too loud, then you would have to simultaneously video the vehicle, and a noise meter showing the noise in excess of the established threshold, and then the Officer is likely to ask "How do we know your noise meter was accurate or that you were qualified to use a noise meter?" Too, the law provides for broad and subjective "Officer discretion" on what constitutes an offense. In short, MOST noise laws in Hawai'i seem to protect the violator moreso than the victim.
We petition lawmakers on every opportunity to use the "Plainly Audible Standard" (PAS) when writing, and to modify current, legislation. The PAS simply says if an Officer can hear the noise from xx feet from the source, no matter what the nosie, then the noise is in violation of the ordinance or statute. And, in the case of music, it is not necessary to be able to understand the lyrics of a song, just hearing the sound beyond a certain distance is sufficient to prove the violation. Too simple, right? No messing about with "as originally equipped" or "in excess of xx Decibels" or other vague measurements, just 'if it can be heard beyond xx feet it's in violation.' But after years and years we're still lobbying for the same standard - and will continue to do so. In the meantime, more legislation with vague language that is, and most politicians know this, unenforceable, continues to be passed.
Thank you for contacting us. Hope this has helped. We will post to our noise blog without your identifying info. We have added you to our email list.
A follow-on note: Do not personally confront suspected offenders or take other actions that would place you in possible jeopardy. Engaging with suspected offenders can and has in other situations led to dangerous confrontations. Report the offense to law enforcement.