Saturday, November 28, 2015         


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No colored coverings or grilles allowed on vehicle headlights

By June Watanabe


Question: Are halogen headlights and light-blue covers for the headlights legal? When driving at night, my classmates and I feel they are blinding to our eyes. The people who put tinted blue covers over the headlights are also trying to make the car look like police cars.

Answer: Halogen headlamps have been approved for use in the United States for more than 30 years, but it is not legal to put a cover — blue or otherwise — over a headlamp.

The Honolulu Police Department issued 41 citations for violations of the blue-light prohibition in 2010 and nine so far this year, said Traffic Division Sgt. Danton Nakama.

An official with the state Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Safety Office pointed to the 2007 version of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 regarding headlamp obstructions: “When activated in a steady burning state, headlamps must not have any styling ornament or other feature, such as a translucent cover or grill, in front of the lens."

The department’s inspection rules reference federal rules as a standard for conducting motor vehicle inspections, he said. “Translucent covering on headlights, therefore, is illegal in Hawaii.”

Regarding the use of blue lights, the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, Section 15-19.22, states in part,“No person shall drive or move any vehicle or equipment upon any highway with any lamp, reflector or other device thereon or therein displaying a red or green or blue light visible to any driver or pedestrian upon the highway ahead of such vehicle or equipment.”

Those prohibitions don’t apply to emergency vehicles.

Meanwhile, Section 291-31.5 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes says any lamp, reflector or illumination device that appears to be blue, or blue and red, is not allowed to be attached to any motor vehicle, motorcycle, motor scooter, bicycle or mo-ped except for county or state law enforcement vehicles, including state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ enforcement vehicles.

However, the state “prohibition shall not apply to factory-installed instrument illumination.”

See 20091121_Dim_view_of_headlights regarding how newer high-intensity lights mounted on relatively high vehicles give off more light than older halogen lights.

Question: Can you tell me where I can properly dispose of used mercury-filled light bulbs or CFLs?

Answer: You can take fluorescent tubes and CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) to the city’s household hazardous waste drop-off event, by appointment.

The next events are scheduled for June 11 and 18, Aug. 6, Oct. 1 and Dec. 17. Call 768-3201 to schedule an appointment no later than one week before the date.

The city also allows individual households to wrap the tubes and CFLs in newspaper, then dispose with regular household rubbish.

Commercial entities must follow stricter regulations for disposal.


To whoever found my wallet: While running an errand to a Waikiki store, I discovered that it had slipped out of my pocket somewhere on Kuhio Avenue. A kind person found it on the sidewalk and took it to the Honolulu police substation. HPD found the name of my insurance agent in Colorado and called him. He then called me. In less than one hour I was reunited with all my credit cards, driver’s license and cash. The good Samaritan did not leave his name and was just glad that he could help. Thank heavens for honest people and HPD’s efforts to locate me.

— Very Grateful

Write to “Kokua Line” at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

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