WAILUKU - Targeting loud mufflers and other illegal conditions on vehicles, police traffic officers issued 386 citations during four days of increased enforcement ending Tuesday.
Nearly all of the citations were given in the Kahului area, but police plan to expand "Operation Safe and Quiet Community" to Upcountry, South Maui and West Maui as well, said acting Lt. Jamie Becraft of the Traffic Section.
"We're looking to make things a lot safer," he said. "It's going to become a focal point. We're going to continue to maintain the constant enforcement for several months."
Of the 386 citations, the largest number - 153 - were for vehicles including motorcycles and mopeds with loud mufflers. Officers also issued 44 citations for illegal window tint, 24 citations for extended tires that were excessively wide and eight for not having rear bumpers.
The loud muffler citations, which carry a $77 fine, were for mufflers with "unusual noise" louder than a factory-installed muffler, Becraft said. Often, after-market mufflers are only partially installed without the baffling that would dampen the sound, he said.
He said people with families in neighborhoods may be familiar with the sound of loud mufflers rattling windows as vehicles pass.
"They don't put on loud mufflers so they can drive slowly," Becraft said. "They're promoting their speed. They want people to hear their engines. They're putting on racing mufflers and letting everybody hear the car come down the street."
He said some drivers of vehicles with loud mufflers were also cited for speeding. Officers also gave citations for vehicles with no insurance and drivers without licenses.
Becraft said traffic officers would have done more ticketing if they hadn't been called out to investigate two crashes during the past week, including one in which a motorcyclist died Tuesday afternoon in Kaanapali. He said the aim of the ticketing was to make roads safer and reduce the risks of traffic deaths.
Illegal window tint can obscure a driver's vision, he said, and lifted vehicles with extended tires may dislodge rocks that could be thrown onto other vehicles. The potential for a vehicle to roll over also increases, Becraft said.
The fine is $287 for illegal window tint allowing less than 35 percent of light in. The standard applies to all windows on cars and the driver's and passenger window on trucks. Windshield tint cannot go below the "AS1" mark. For vehicles without the mark, windshield tint must extend no more than 4 inches from the top of the windshield.
The fine is $72 for extended tires and no rear bumpers.
In three days of enforcement on Kahului Beach Road, Becraft gave out 30 citations for loud mufflers. "It became very apparent very quickly that it's a big problem," he said.
He said one driver protested that his vehicle wasn't as loud as some motorcycles he had heard. Another complained he hadn't been cited earlier when he passed the officer with the same vehicle.
"If you drive by me at 70 miles per hour and I don't stop you, that doesn't make it right," Becraft said. "There are really no excuses to give. These are very deliberate actions."
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@maui news.com.