Ask the Mayor: Why Did I Get a Ticket?

March 5, 2018, 10:30 AM HST · Updated March 5, 10:32 AM

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his staff.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa at, (808) 270-7855 or mail them to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.

Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Mr. Mayor,


Q: I was given a ticket recently for wearing my seatbelt shoulder strap under my armpit. The ticket has no box to check, other than “No Seatbelt.” I don’t thinking I should have been fined because I was wearing my seatbelt.

Can you explain? Thank you.

A: According to the interpretation of the law, draping your seatbelt over your shoulder does not constitute proper restraint. Hawaii Revised Statute §291-11.6 (“Mandatory use of seat belts”) states that the driver and all passengers in an operating motor vehicle must be “restrained by a seatbelt assembly” (or by a child safety seat if under 8 years of age), and “restrained” means that the seatbelt assembly is “worn as it was designed and intended to be worn.”


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides the following information on proper seatbelt use: “A should harness is worn across the shoulder and chest with minimal, if any slack. The shoulder harness should NOT be worn under the arm or behind the back.”

In this context, improper use of a seat belt no only violates HRS §291-11.6, but also puts the seatbelt wearer at risk for serious internal injuries in the event of a crash.


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