Drivers face fines, penalties if items not safely secured

Secure

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On a beautiful holiday, many drivers load up their cars and trucks to hit the beach. But if they’re not careful their cargo could end up like what happened Sunday when someone’s surfboard smashed into a drivers windshield on the H-1 Freeway.

“You put on top of your car should always be strapped, always,” Josh Bishaw of Kailua Sailboards & Kayaks said.

Bishaw has the scoop on safely securing your stuff.

First put foam or a towel down to protect the roof. Then tighten the straps.

His shop loans these to customers free of charge.

In less than five minutes, the job is done and then it is ready to roll.

“This is what it would look like right before I send you guys out,” Bishaw said.

State law backs him up. Anyone moving a heavy load on a car’s roof or in a truck bed needs to secure it in place.

“It is state law and I would hope people understand that is a requirement and they need to do that,” Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson said.

Items can be securely fastened with clamps, ropes, straps or cargo nets. But it’s up to the driver to do the right thing.

“Legislatively there is very little what we can do, but people should exercise commons sense,” Chair of the Transportation Committee State Senator J. Kalani English said.

Sen. English had his own scare eight months ago on Maui when a ladder flew off a truck nearly hitting his car.

“I was really shaken up by the whole thing,” English said.

In 2011, a 55-year-old motorcyclist was critically injured trying to avoid a plastic chair on the H-3 Freeway.

In 2009, a 49-year-old California man was killed when an outrigger canoe crashed through the windshield of his car on the Big Island.

In 2003, two people were killed after a motorist swerved to avoid a box on the road. The driver of a truck had failed to secure the box. No criminal charges were filed.

Under state law, a driver could face a fine for not securing a load.

There is a $250 to $500 for the first violation, or as much as $1,000 for a repeat offender, plus have their license suspended for a month.

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§291C-131 Spilling loads on highways; penalties. (a) No vehicle shall be moved on any highway, unless the vehicle is so constructed, covered, or loaded as to prevent any of its load other than clear water or feathers from live birds from dropping, sifting, leaking, blowing, spilling, or otherwise escaping therefrom, except that sand may be dropped for the purpose of securing traction, or water or other substance may be sprinkled on a highway in cleaning or maintaining the highway.
(b) No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway when any load thereon is not entirely within the body of the vehicle; provided that this prohibition shall not apply if the load is securely fastened by means of clamps, ropes, straps, cargo nets, or other suitable mechanical device to prevent such load from dropping onto the highway or from shifting in any manner and, further, no vehicle shall be operated on any highway with any load thereon projecting beyond the extreme width of the vehicle.
(c) Vehicles carrying agricultural produce from fields during harvesting shall be exempt from the requirements of this section but the owner of the vehicle must provide for the reasonable removal of all such produce spilled or dropped on the highway.
(d) No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway with any load if the load is not entirely covered by a cargo net, tarpaulin, canopy, or other material designed to cover the load to prevent the load from escaping from the vehicle, where the load consists partially or entirely of loose paper, loose rubbish, plastics, empty cartons, dirt, sand, or gravel.
(e) Vehicles transporting a granular load consisting of dirt, sand, or gravel on any highway shall not be required to cover their granular load if the granular load does not extend, at its peak, above any point on a horizontal plane equal in height to the top of the side, front, or rear part of the cargo container area that is the least in height.
(f) No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway with a load consisting of rocks, stones, or boulders if the load, at its peak, extends above any point on a horizontal plane equal in height to the top of the side, front, or rear part of the cargo container area that is the least in height.
(g) Violation of this section shall be considered an offense as defined in section 701-107(5), shall not be subject to the provisions of chapter 291D, and shall subject the owner or driver of the vehicle, or both, to the following penalties without possibility of probation or suspension of sentence:

(1) For a first violation, by a fine of not less than $250 and not more than $500.
(2) For a second violation involving a vehicle or driver previously cited under this section within one year:

(A) Suspension of the vehicle registration or suspension of the license of the driver, or both, for not less than five working days but not more than ten working days; and
(B) A fine of not less than $500 and not more than $750.

(3) For a third or subsequent violation involving a vehicle or driver previously cited under this section within one year:

(A) Suspension of the vehicle registration or suspension of the license of the driver, or both, for a period of thirty calendar days; and
(B) A fine of not less than $750 and not more than $1,000.

In imposing a fine under this subsection, the court, in its discretion, may apportion payment of the fine between the driver of the vehicle and the owner of the vehicle according to the court’s determination of the degree of fault for the violation.
For the purposes of this subsection, a truck-trailer combination and tractor-semitrailer combination, as they are defined in section 286-2, shall be considered as one vehicle. [L 1976, c 137, §1; am L 1977, c 205, §1; am L 1986, c 175, §1; am L 1989, c 301, §1; am L 1990, c 121, §1; am L 2000, c 100, §1]

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