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‘What good is it?’: Flaws in new vehicle safety stickers

February 20, 2014
The Associated Press

WAIPAHU, Oahu (AP) - Flaws have been found in Hawaii's new vehicle safety stickers, including printing that can easily be removed.

Kalihi mechanic George Nitta worries that if he can wipe numbers off the sticker decals, so can criminals. Nitta has found that he can wipe off the VIN number from a sticker in seconds using nail polish remover. He also believes that including the VIN numbers could attract car thieves who could use the number to have a locksmith make a set of keys.

"That is the modern way to steal cars," he said. "Get the VIN number, go to a key guy, he makes a key. Come back. You got your car."

The state began using the new safety inspection program last fall, with mechanics and gas stations using technology to replace the old paper-based system.

The safety check stickers changed as well. They are now printed at each destination in black ink on white labels and the state no longer employs preprinted decals in different colors for each year.

According to Nitta, people can alter the dates of their stickers by erasing a number and using a black permanent marker.

"Because you can erase it and change the date, change everything. So, what good is it?" he said.

State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter said the stickers are designed to hold up under normal vehicle use and washing for three years.

She said the state is always concerned about fraud. That's why the new decals have both the VIN numbers and vehicle license plate numbers printed on them. The idea is to help deter theft and make it difficult for thieves to use the decals on different vehicles.

 
 

 

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