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The Honolulu Star-Advertiser Kokua Line column
[November 19, 2012]

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser Kokua Line column

Nov 19, 2012 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Question: I was delighted to read the announcement of the state ID program moving to driver's licensing locations. I am a senior citizen, as are many of those seeking state IDs, and found the previous location difficult -- no parking, long lines, etc. It is a big improvement to offer this service in neighborhood locations. My concern is that the locations listed completely omit the east end of this island and all of Windward Oahu. Why cannot the driver's licensing offices in Hawaii Kai and Kaneohe offer this service also Answer: Actually, state IDs will be processed at the city's Koolau station in Kaneohe, one of five driver's licensing locations on the island that will take over state ID responsibilities in January.

Act 310 of the 2012 Session Laws of Hawaii consolidates the state's driver's license and civil identification (state ID) programs under the state director of transportation to meet the requirements of the federal REAL ID Act.

The REAL ID Act requires states to issue driver's licenses and state IDs that comply with its provisions "on a timely basis." In Hawaii, combining the two functions was considered "imperative" in complying with the REAL ID Act.

The state ID program currently is handled by the state attorney general's Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center.

Since 1937 the state Department of Transportation has delegated the issuance of Hawaii driver's licenses to the four counties.

Act 310 authorizes the counties' driver's license offices to take over the function of issuing state ID cards, said Dennis Kamimura, administrator of the city Motor Vehicles, Licensing and Permits Division.

He said satellite city halls, such as the one in Hawaii Kai, are not driver's license offices, because they are limited to issuing renewals and duplicates.

But the satellites also offer "the full range of city services," including processing all motor vehicle registration transactions, Kamimura said.

"These offices are extremely busy, and due to staffing and physical office layouts, only three satellite city halls currently issue driver license duplicates and process driver license renewals," he said. Those three are Hawaii Kai, Fort Street Mall and Pearlridge.

Kamimura said the DOT will reimburse the counties for the cost of administering the program, while the counties will remit the fees collected to the DOT.

Question: After all these years of being red, when and why did firetrucks change to yellow Answer: It's been decades since the Honolulu Fire Department began switching to yellow engines.

The image of red fire engines may be imprinted into the memories of many people, but there is no standardized color for those emergency vehicles, and yellow firetrucks have been the norm in many places across the country for years.

In 1996, Ed Yee, then the administrative officer for HFD, told Kokua Line the city got its first yellow fire engine in 1973.

"Safety was the primary concern," he explained, saying yellow was chosen because of its high visibility. Yellow trucks were phased in as the red engines were retired or needed repainting.

We found a 1972 Time magazine article explaining that fire departments were ditching red engines because research had shown the color red was one of the least visible colors at night.

Back in 1996, Yee said he had even seen blue and green firetrucks in use on the mainland.

Mahalo To a nice person who found my lost driver's license near the downtown post office and mailed it back to me. I was so worried about driving without a valid license that I quickly got a duplicate, but the nagging issue of someone having my personal information still bugged me. I now rest assured that the information is safe. -- B. Sano Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

___ (c)2012 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser Visit The Honolulu Star-Advertiser at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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