QUESTION: Just after 5 p.m. Jan. 5, I followed a white Mazda on the H-1 freeway viaduct. I could see the driver looking down into her lap from her large driver’s side mirror, texting! This went on for nearly one-eighth of a mile at 10 mph. Then right before the Hickam Air Force Base turn area, she whipped out a huge camera and stuck her head out the window to take some photos (with both hands) of the sunset. Yes, the car is still going forward! When she finished those shots, she proceeded to use her right hand to take three shots of herself, with the flash coming through her rear window. I made sure to keep my distance, but what can an ordinary citizen do in this case? I thought I had seen everything up until then. If I tooted my horn to get her attention back to driving, that could have provoked road rage, and I didn’t want any retribution, yet I didn’t want anyone to get hurt.
ANSWER: In a blatant case like this, witnesses can call 911 — even without having a complete license plate number, said Sgt. Danton Nakama, of the Honolulu Police Department’s Traffic Division.
They should provide as many details as possible of the vehicle, driver and driver’s actions.
Nakama said if the witness is willing to meet with an officer, a "hazardous driver report" can be initiated, with a follow-up to the registered owner’s address if that can be obtained.
If the driver can be identified, he or she will be informed of the complaint, but no citation will be issued unless a police officer actually witnessed the violation, he said.
If the witness does not want to meet with an officer, the vehicle’s reported location will be provided to officers, and an officer can stop and counsel the driver, if he/she is can be found.
If the vehicle cannot be located, no action will be taken.
QUESTION: Who is responsible for the horrendous increase in the motor vehicle registration fee? I did not see any prior notice in print or TV.
ANSWER: You are feeling the weight of a Honolulu City Council action in 2009.
Acting on fee increases proposed by the former city administration, the City Council approved increasing motor vehicle registration fees 66 percent by 2011.
The registration fee includes a weight tax for passenger vehicles, which increased to 4 cents per pound from 3 cents per pound on Jan. 1, 2010, and to 5 cents per pound this past Jan. 1.
Many trucks are assessed an additional 5 cents per pound.
Additionally, the Council approved increasing the beautification fee, also part of vehicle registration, to $6 from $5 on Sept. 1, 2009, and to $7 last July 1.
To the bulky item crew working Dec. 29 in Wailupe Valley. The guys were picking up things from our neighbor’s house, and my wife wanted me to rush out to place our bulky items on the sidewalk. I thought it was too late and didn’t want to hold them up on a busy day. They could easily have just driven away, but to my surprise, one of them rang our doorbell and asked whether we would like to get rid of the junk they saw stacked in our driveway. They even waited patiently while I moved my car. That reminded me about why Uncle Harry always put cases of beer out for the opala crew during the holidays. I’ll be sure to show my appreciation for the hard work these guys/gals do all year long with a case of Primo. Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! — Brian Walker