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Lawmaker takes aim at blinding headlights

LIHU‘E — A state legislator is taking aim at blinding headlights that often make driving dangerous for motorists in the evening — particularly on two-lane roads like state Kuamo‘o Road (Route 580) in Wailua — because of an inability to see properly.

House Bill 541, which was introduced by state Rep. Scot Z. Matayoshi (D-District 49), would require proper headlight beam heights during annual vehicle safety inspections.

“Headlights that shine brightly toward oncoming traffic are dangerous. They restrict drivers’ visibility and create traffic hazards. Nearly all of us have experienced this while driving,” said Matayoshi, whose district covers Kane‘ohe, Maunawili and Olomana on O‘ahu, in a statement.

HB 541 calls upon the state Department of Transportation to adopt the necessary rules to deal with head lamp requirements during motor vehicle safety checks conducted at inspection stations.

As it stands, the state’s safety inspection checklist includes at least 22 items, but does not address headlight beam height requirements.

“Some seniors in my community refuse to drive at night for fear of being blinded and crashing. By introducing this legislation, we hope to create safer roadways for our families,” said Matayoshi in a statement.

The proposed law has drawn early support, most notably from the state Department of Transportation.

“The Department of Transportation (DOT) supports HB 541, which requires proper head lamp specifications for vehicle safety inspections,” the department said in testimony submitted on Feb. 2.

“The DOT supports this effort to ensure that all vehicle safety equipment is properly maintained to provide maximum safety benefit for all roadway users.”

HB 541 was referred to the House Committee on Consumer Protection &Commerce on Feb. 10 after passing a second reading in the House Committee on Transportation, according to legislative records.

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Wyatt Haupt Jr., editor, can be reached at 808-245-0457 or whaupt@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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