Q: Why on Maui are trucks allowed to have oversized tires sticking out past fender walls? How are these vehicles passing safety inspections? Why aren't police enforcing? I was hit in the face by gravel flying out from a truck with fat tires. Fender guards are supposed to protect pedestrians, mopeds and bicyclists from this. And for safety reasons, what are the restrictions on bumper heights?
A: Tires are not allowed to extend beyond the fender well, and Maui police officers do cite for oversized tires on vehicles. In fact, since December of 2012, MPD has issued 259 citations for tires extended beyond the fender. Police enforce these laws to prevent accidents where rocks and other objects are free from containment of a fender well, and by force of the moving tire are thrown outward and potentially onto other motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. Under HRS 291-35.1, maximum bumper heights of motor vehicles are determined by the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicle and vary between 22 inches for passenger vehicles to 35 inches for vehicles weighing 7,501 to 10,000 pounds.
Q: The issue with brush fires is not new but it seems they have definitely increased. The news has stated some of these fires have been started by fireworks. Why, with the years of drought and increasing fires, has Maui not banned the sales and use of fireworks? Oahu banned them years ago.
A: A statewide ban has been proposed for many years now, but has not been instituted. Over the years there have been some strides in the right direction by requiring a permitting process for firecrackers (which cause smoke and inhalation issues but generally are not linked to brush fires). Other rules that have been suggested include banning any types of fireworks that travel more than 12 feet, further restricting the duration of sales of the products and enforcing specific hours for use. We have in the past considered a fireworks ban within Maui County. Many individuals and families enjoy fireworks safely during the appropriate holiday times; however, the few that do not create dangerous conditions for others. On New Year's Eve, a house fire caused $177,000 in damage; it was suspected to have been caused by illegal aerial fireworks. Numerous other incidents during each holiday - an average of five to six fires per day over each three-day period - keep firefighters very busy. It is my hope that the public will abide by existing restrictions to help keep people and property safe while enjoying the cultural celebrations that are an important part of our islands' heritage.
Q: We purchased our home about four years ago, and the previous owner, a contractor, left several 5-gallon containers of latex- and oil-based paint and various solvents. They are not usable anymore and we want to get rid of them. I want to dispose of everything properly. How do I do this? Who should I call to find out what to do?
A: Questions about hazardous waste and recycling in general can be directed to the Department of Environmental Management website, www.mauicounty.gov/recycle. The Environmental Protection Agency has two categories of hazardous waste. If it's generated by a home, it's considered Household Hazardous Waste, but if it's generated by a business, it's classified as Commercial Hazardous Waste. According to EPA regulations, all HHW can be disposed of in Subtitle "D" landfills; all county landfills are Subtitle "D." Liquids present a problem, and members of the public are asked to not put liquid HHW in their county refuse container, as it may damage the truck and/or cause fires as rubbish is compacted. Instead, HHW liquids should be absorbed, triple-bagged and taken to the landfill or a convenience center such as Olowalu. Small amounts of liquids may be evaporated, and small quantities of paint can be dried out then disposed of in your refuse can. However, Commercial Hazardous Waste must be properly disposed of by a hazardous waste disposal company; the 5-gallon containers you mention would fall under this category. For contact information on the hazardous waste disposal companies that service Maui County, please visit www.mauicounty.gov/mayorsblog or call the Recycle Maui County Hotline at 270-7880. You can also email questions to email@example.com.
* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: AskTheMayor@ mauicounty.gov, phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the "Ask the Mayor" column.