Question: If a car is parked in a handicap stall and does not have a handicap placard, who does one call to have the vehicle towed away? I do volunteer work at a TV station where there are two handicap stalls. Lately, a car without a placard has been parked in one stall. I brought it to the attention of the station, but that same vehicle still parks there. If a lot is private, does it not have to follow the law?
Answer: It doesn’t matter whether the stall is on private or public property.
Under Section 291-58 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, any public or private entity that provides a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities has to comply with all the requirements of the Parking for Disabled Persons law.
If you see a vehicle without a placard parked in any restricted stall, call 911, said Sgt. Emilio Laganse, of the Honolulu Police Department’s Disabled Parking Enforcement Program.
If it’s a chronic problem, call his office at 529-3136, and someone can check the lot.
Regarding towing, unless there is a sign stating unauthorized vehicles will be towed, "normally we do not tow," he said.
For more information, check the website of the state Disability and Communication Access Board, hawaii.gov/health/dcab/parking, or call the office at 586-8121.
Question: I always see a healthy-looking man park his car in metered parking on Waialae Avenue. He has a disabled parking permit and parks a half-day or whole day without feeding the meter. I don’t really think this guy is disabled. How can I check whether he’s really eligible to have the parking permit?
Answer: People with valid disabled-parking permits are allowed to park for free in a metered stall for 2 1/2 hours or for the duration of the meter, said HPD Sgt. Emilio Laganse.
If the meter allows parking for three hours, for example, the vehicle can park for free for three hours, he said. If the meter shows less than 2 1/2 hours, placard-holders can park free for 2 1/2 hours.
There is no number for the public to call to check whether a placard is legitimate, Laganse said.
If you suspect a violation, you can call HPD’s Disabled Parking Enforcement Program Office at 529-3136 with the placard number and location.
However, Laganse said that just because a person does not appear obviously disabled does not mean the placard is not valid.
"In defense of the gentleman (referred to), just because a person does not appear to have a disability does not mean he/she is not," Laganse said.
To drivers who tailgate emergency vehicles. When a vehicle approaches with its sirens blasting, we are required to pull over to the side of the road and let it pass. On Wednesday morning, Oct. 27, my sons and I witnessed a driver in a white van almost rear-end an ambulance. Tailgating an emergency vehicle is illegal and creates more stress in an already stressful situation. According to emergency personnel I spoke to after the patient had been taken to the hospital, the driver had already been warned once to stop tailgating. Let’s all remember to share the road and follow the law. — Natalie Iwasa
(Section 291C-128 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes says, "The driver of any vehicle other than one on official business shall not follow any emergency vehicle traveling in response to an emergency closer than five hundred feet or drive or park such vehicle within five hundred feet of where the emergency vehicle has stopped in answer to a fire alarm.")
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 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.