Q: What are the laws regarding noise pollution coming from loud vehicles on our increasingly crowded island? Our once-quiet neighborhood is bombarded all day, all night, every day with jacked-up trucks, some with oversized tires (monster trucks), cars, motorcycles and other types of vehicles with loud mufflers and motors. These vehicles are so noisy that they can literally wake the dead and be heard a mile away. Where is the enforcement to combat this daily assault (noise pollution) to our eardrums and sanity?
A: The law requires all motor vehicles to have mufflers. The purpose of a muffler is to help control exhaust noise from the motor of a motor vehicle. Maui County Code, Title 10, Article 1, Chapter.10.20.440 prohibits a motor vehicle on a public highway or street unless the motor and/or exhaust system of the motor vehicle is properly equipped and adjusted to prevent the escape of excessive or unusual noise. The ordinance also states that no person shall operate a motor vehicle on a public highway or street with a motor and/or exhaust system that has been altered or modified to such an extent that the noise of the motor and/or exhaust system is excessive or unusual because of a dummy muffler, cutout, bypass or other similar device. In layman's terms, anything louder than a stock muffler is a violation. After-market mufflers that are advertised as being legal in all 50 states only meet emission control requirements, not noise requirements. The fine for having a loud muffler is $72. Maui Police Department officers enforce the loud muffler ordinance. The Traffic Section conducted two separate operations last year to address this issue and have plans to address the noise problem again this year. Moped modifications are prohibited by Hawaii Revised Statutes, which state that no moped shall be modified in any manner except as authorized by the motor manufacturer, and any modification shall not increase the power capacity of the motor above 2 horsepower. For more info, visit www.mauicounty.gov/laws and select "Maui County Code."
Q: Last week, I received a plastic bag in my mailbox, asking me to donate to a food drive sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service. I thought plastic bags were banned in Maui County. How come the federal government is exempt?
A: The quick answer to your question is that, in this case, the U.S. Post Office is not selling you anything. The more detailed answer refers back to the county ordinance that went into effect Jan. 11, 2011, which restricts the use of nonreusable plastic bags at the point of sale by any commercial enterprise or establishment, including sole proprietorships, joint ventures, partnerships and corporations, whether for profit or nonprofit. This includes all employees of businesses, or any independent contractors associated with the businesses, that provide bags to their customers at the point of sale for the purpose of transporting groceries or other goods. The "Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance" enacted in Maui County was designed to help protect the environment by drastically reducing the number of plastic bags used on a daily basis by local retailers and consumers. For more information on the ordinance, enforcement and violations, visit www.mauicounty.gov/plasticbags.
Q: Regarding the free health care being offered during the Tropic Care Maui event next month, I know that people are saying that all we have to do to receive free medical, dental and vision services is to show up and stand in line, but what if I need a doctor's note or a signed form saying that yes, my son did get a physical exam. Will those forms be offered there?
A: No. You are responsible for bringing any forms and records that you need signed by medical personnel. The members of the U.S. military that are providing these free clinics do not have these forms on hand. However, they have said that they will sign any appropriate forms that people have with them that apply to the services received. These include Dental Health Certificates, DOE Students Health Record-Form 14 Sports/Athletic Physical Examination Form, College Entry Physical Examination Form, Physical Examination form for children and adults to enter foster care homes. If you have any questions about forms, call the Mayor's Office at 270-7855 and ask to be transferred to the Tropic Care hotline, which is manned by Tropic Care Coordinator and longtime former council Vice Chairman Joe Pontanilla. He can get your answers or refer you to someone who can.
*Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., 9th floor, Wailuku, 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the "Ask the Mayor" column; to request a personal response to a concern, email email@example.com.