I am a Producer at Hawaii News Now. I would like to know as soon as possible about any effort to improve laws or enforcement on vehicle noise.
One question: According to NoiseOff - the labeling law is a federal requirement; but I don't see it in Hawaii statutes. Has that been discussed here? Is it your opinion that Hawaii is actually violating the federal law by not enforcing these statutes?
Thanks for the email. How do we respond to your question? Really! Most Hawaii residents would be appalled at how bad it really is.
Many states have enacted statutes that require adherence to the labeling requirement; Hawai'i has not. Not only does this apply to automobiles and trucks, but the grandest offenders of all are the motorcycle riders.
If you look at our website on page: Hawai'i Noise Laws under Illegally Modified Mufflers And Exhausts.
Hawai'i Law - ROH Sec. 15-19.28 Mufflers--Noise-Controlling Devices. you'll find at subpar (d):
[Quote] (d) No person shall operate a motor vehicle on a public highway equipped with an exhaust system or device which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the motor of such motor vehicle above that emitted by the exhaust system or device with which the motor vehicle came originally equipped from the factory. [End Quote] You'd think that an easy way of determining if the muffler is louder would be to check and see if has the compliance label. Too hard says HPD. So, it's simply..... Not enforced.
Similar restrictions are incorporated into State and City and County rules and ordinances, but HPD has chosen to exercise "Officers' Discretion" not to enforce. This tracks up to the highest level of HPD command, to the Chief of Police.
We have some interesting stats on how many "Noise Laws" are actually enforced by HPD of those on the books. By extrapolation HPD's history of noise ordinances/statues equates to each HPD Officer averaging enforcement of 8 citations per average career of 20 years. Not a high priority. And why? The actual numbers that we've used can be found at: HPD's Poor Record Of Enforcement. You'll see the actual numbers that HPD has reported between 2004 - 2008. We've looked for more recent statistics but cannot find any. It's likely they no longer can be bothered with maintaining these numbers. It would be an embarrassment if HPD cared, but they do not.
Too, of the few rules that we do have on the books, politicians find them "Inconvenient." Tulsi Gabbard, for example, is on record saying that our "Prohibited Noise" ordinance is too restrictive limiting noise to being heard at 30 feet from the offending vehicle. Instead, she proposed changing the existing ordinance from 30 feet to 100 feet. What would have been the effect, For everyone in Hawai'i and on O'ahu living next to a roadway, or close proximity of a street, that meant that it's okay with Tulsi if the boom boxes and extraordinary loud "Boom Car" stereos can be heard in your living room. See our link at Illegally Used Boom Car Stereos for how loud those can be - - Deafening!
As an example of lobbying pressures, Representative Marcus Oshiro (D-Wahiawa) attempted to promote legislation dealing with loud auto stereos. He immediately came under attack by the very strong lobby of O'ahu stereo retailers. He caved. In the end he agreed with the industry that although they sold amplifiers and speakers capable of achieving 5000 or greater Watts no one would really turn them up that high, and that, in effect, they would police themselves. You can find the pathetic details of that exchange at Our Noise Blog.
In sum, numerous laws, statutes, rules, ordinances, are already on the books. Just a question of lack of enforcement, although HPD will trot out their metrics that, on face value, appears that they are doing a great job. In reality, if you can find an average patrol officer willing to discuss, they are told through their chain of command that noise ordinances will not be enforced.
It's just the way it is.
Maybe you can help draw attention to the political influence, buy-offs, and lack of enforcement, that bring us to our horrible state of noise pollution that we live under today. Should be better. Should be quieter. There was a time you could year the trades gently rustling the palm fronds. A bygone day.
Very best regards,
A Quieter O'ahu