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Oʻahu's junk vehicle program sees 65% decrease in roadside refuse

Frank Schulenburg
Wikimedia Commons

Honolulu's Junk Vehicle Program began in 2008 with the aim of reducing the number of abandoned motorcycles, mopeds and cars on public roads.

Residents can contact the city to remove their unwanted cars for free.

According to the city's Department of Customer Services, the program handled roughly 1,600 cars a year prior to 2020. But over the last three years, there has been a steady decline — resulting in the program handling 567 vehicles in 2022, which is a 65% decline.

The department estimates one in every five unwanted vehicles on Oʻahu is abandoned on public roads.

"Vehicles left on the side of public roadways are not just illegal, but they are unsightly, unsafe, unnecessary," said Kim Hashiro, director of the department of customer services.

"The program allows the owner to dispose of a vehicle at no cost. And the other thing to remember is that under state law, there's $160 fine for abandoning a vehicle on public roadways," Hashiro said.

Hashiro also told HPR that the city pays $300 per vehicle tow. That money comes from the transportation department's highway beautification fund.

In order for the city to accept unwanted vehicles, owners must first complete paperwork to surrender the vehicle — as well as turn in license plates, registration and title to a satellite city hall. The vehicle must also be free of trash, accessible to a tow truck and have at least two inflated tires.

However, submitting a vehicle doesn't relieve owners of any citations, criminal charges, liens and other financial responsibilities.

More information about the program can be found at www.honolulu.gov/csd

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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