Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: Laws Relating to Headlights After Dark

October 19, 2014, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated October 27, 6:45 AM
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Night lights. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Night lights. File photo by Wendy Osher.

The mayor answers questions from the public in this series.

By Mayor Alan Arakawa

Q: What is the statute for turning your headlights on during nighttime driving?

I notice many drivers in Maui drive well after dark with either no lights or fog lights only.

Yesterday at 7:30 p.m. I saw two highway construction trucks driving with only fog lights. This type of driving is dangerous.

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A: I agree with you that driving without headlights when it’s dark is extremely dangerous. According to Maui County Code Chapter 10.20.020, which mirrors Section 291-25 of the Hawaii Revised Statues (HRS), “every vehicle upon a highway within this county at any time from a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise [….] shall display lighted lamps and illuminating devices.”

Night lights. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Night lights. File photo by Wendy Osher.

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Headlights must also be used during times when, “due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of five hundred feet ahead.”

The HRS lists a fine of $47 for a violation.

Allowance is made for alternate lighting in lieu of headlights, provided that they are capable of revealing persons and objects 75 feet ahead and that “at no time shall [the motor vehicle] be operated at a speed in excess of 20 miles per hour” (10.20.030).

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Some folks may simply forget or think their lights were already on, but others may be driving under the influence.

For this reason, motorists should not hesitate to call for police service should they notice a car or motorcycle driving without headlights.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: [email protected], phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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