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Kokua Line: Hawaii DOT explains how to register a car with an expired safety check

Question: Is it too late to register my car with an expired safety check?

Answer: Yes, that pandemic-era reprieve ended Thursday, according to the state Department of Transportation. You must obtain a current safety check to be able to register your car in one step, and you’re also risking a traffic ticket if you drive with an expired safety sticker.

The exemption began in March, when COVID-19 temporarily closed safety inspection stations, and lasted through the end of 2020, under Gov. David Ige’s emergency proclamations, according to the DOT website, 808ne.ws/dotfaq.

Safety inspection stations reopened in mid-May. You can find a list of locations by county on the DOT website, at 808ne.ws/safety check. Once you renew your safety check, proceed with your registration.

However, if both your safety check and your registration are expired, you’ll face a three-step process, DOT spokeswoman Shelly Kunishige explained, citing Chapter 19-142 of Hawaii Administrative Rules, 808ne.ws/19142.

>> First, take the vehicle in for inspection. It will fail the safety check due to the expired registration; however, if it meets the other criteria, an incomplete certificate of inspection would be issued.

>> The incomplete certificate of inspection can be used to renew the motor vehicle registration.

>> “The vehicle owner can then take their renewed vehicle registration back to the original station where their failed inspection was conducted and receive a new safety check,” she said.

Q: Auwe! If the IRS says not to contact them or the bank about the stimulus (808ne.ws/kline1231), how are we supposed to find out why we didn’t get it? My friends are seeing it in their bank accounts already!

A: You should be able to check the status of your payment online next week, at irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment, according to the IRS. The portal is offline until the IRS can update the information. As Thursday’s column said, the second round of Economic Impact Payments are being paid automatically by direct deposit, check or debit card to people who are eligible and for whom the Treasury Department has information on file.

Direct deposits began Tuesday. The IRS says that eligible people who don’t receive a direct deposit by early January should watch their mail for either a paper check or a debit card. Some people who received a paper check last time might get a debit card this time, and vice versa.

In the first round, some people threw away the debit cards, mistaking them for junk mail. To avoid that problem, the IRS reminds people that the debit card, called an Economic Impact Payment Card, would arrive in a white envelope that prominently displays the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal. The card itself has the Visa name on the front and the issuing bank — MetaBank, N.A. — on the back. See more information at EIPcard.com.

Last, it’s possible you’ll miss out on the EIP this time because you make too much money. Otherwise, eligible individuals with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 in 2019 will generally receive the full payment of $600, which phases out gradually, zeroing out at $87,000. By contrast, individuals with AGI up to $99,000 received partial payment in the first round, when the full value was $1,200 for singles.

Q: I am 45, with no underlying health conditions that I know of, and I can continue to work from home. When can I get the vaccine?

A: This summer, if the state Department of Health’s projections hold. You’d be among the last group in Hawaii to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, considered a general “community member” without a health-related, age-related, work-related or institution-related reason to move up in line. Read more about the timeline at hawaii covid19.com/vaccine.

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 kokualine@staradvertiser.com.

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