Ask The Mayor

Mayor Michael Victorino answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: We are wondering when the shower restoration at Mai Poina Park in Kihei will be finished. The shower looks like it is almost complete. Mahalo for your time.

A: Thank you for your question, and staff at the Department of Parks and Recreation confirmed that the contractor for this project completed shower restoration work last week at Mai Poina Park. We will need to re-establish some of the grass in that area, but the shower is installed and ready for the public to use. Mahalo for your time.

Q: Since driving and using your cellphone is illegal in the State of Hawaii, does the Maui Police Department investigate this aspect of an accident? More and more drivers still continue to text, talk and use their cellphones, and possibly become distracted, so it seems this would be an important part of a crash investigation — especially if a fatality occurred. What are the legal consequences for a driver who is found distracted by using their cellphone and causing a serious and/or fatal accident? Is it comparable to driving drunk? Do they face jail?

A: I want to thank you for asking this question because I agree with you that drivers are using their cellphones more and more each day on our roadways. Distracted driving can be just as dangerous as speeding, not wearing a seat belt or driving under the influence, and jeopardizes the safety of our community.

My staff contacted the Maui Police Department and were told that they have the capability and resources necessary to determine if a mobile electronic device was being used during an accident and what the specific function or application on the device was being utilized.

All fatal traffic collisions are thoroughly investigated by our Traffic Section’s team of highly trained investigators and they always review every possible contributing factor in a fatal crash, including the use of mobile electronic devices.

If it was determined that the use of a mobile electronic device was a contributing factor in a motor vehicle collision, this information will be taken into consideration when determining fault in the collision, both criminally and civilly. This information could also influence criminal charges against the at-fault driver, sentencing and term of imprisonment against the operator using the mobile electronic device.

Additionally, a separate charge of inattention to driving may be added depending on the severity of injuries. A charge of inattention to driving can carry an additional term of imprisonment of up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Mahalo again for your question, and I will continue to appeal to our residents and visitors to practice safe driving and pray one day we will have zero fatalities in a year.

Q: The new sidewalks near Haiku School are lovely, but who is responsible for the maintenance? The cane grass and weeds are all growing over the sidewalks. Who in the county or state has jurisdiction over easements connected between private homes and the road?

A: Mahalo for your compliment of the work done by our Public Works Department and I’m very happy your community can enjoy these new sidewalks.

As for maintenance and cleaning of sidewalks, every property owner whose land abuts or adjoins a county street shall continually maintain — and keep clean, passable and free from weeds and noxious growths — the sidewalk or shoulder areas which abut or adjoin the owner’s property.

If you have any questions, please call the Department of Public Works at 270-7845.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino by email at askthemayor@mauicounty.gov, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth 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 mayors.office@mauicounty.gov.