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HPD seeks ban on spiked lug nut covers
[March 08, 2013]

HPD seeks ban on spiked lug nut covers

Mar 08, 2013 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A ban on spiked lug nut covers and other sharp objects that stick out from the wheel of a car is among the legislative proposals being pushed by the Honolulu Police Department this year.

Placed on the rims of trucks and some sedans, the sharp spikes can protrude as far out as 2 feet and could cause serious injury to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, said HPD Capt. Paul Calvey.

They are commonly referred to as spikes, pokes and spinners. One brand is even named "the impaler," Calvey said.

The House and Senate swapped Senate Bill 337 and House Bill 146, which would ban what are defined as "dangerous wheels." The Senate version would ban anything protruding more than 2 inches from the rim, while the House version would prohibit anything that would make the wheel protrude "at least 4 inches." The Hawaii Transportation Association raised concerns that the legislation could affect commercial trucks that use long lug nut covers and suggested that the definition of "dangerous wheels" only apply to "ornamentation that extends at least 4 inches." Calvey said HPD is amenable to a longer limit so long as the lug nut covers do not pose a danger.

Both Ron's Performance Center and Revolution Motorsports reported they do not keep spiked lug nut covers in stock, but can special-order them. The ornamental parts can also be purchased over the Internet.

David Silva, owner of Revolution Motorsports, said he sold "probably 20 sets" several years ago but likely has not sold any in the last two years.

They run from $5 to $8 for plastic covers to $50 to $60 for metal ones, Silva said. The ones he's sold extend between 4 and 6 inches from the rims.

Silva said he has only sold them to owners of semitrucks or trucks with dual rear wheels on both sides of the vehicle.

With a wider rear setup, the sharp lug nuts are typically used for the front wheels and should not be placed in the back, he said.

Silva said he has not seen the spikes installed on any sedans locally.

Designed as a style object, "it adds, as you see, a tremendous amount of character" for someone wanting to make a statement, he said.

Silva said he has not seen the bills and cannot comment on them until he does. However, he said, he won't sell or install anything illegal.

The dangerous-wheels legislation was only one of the subjects covered at an HPD presentation for lawmakers and the media at the Capitol on Thursday.

Other measures still alive midway through the 2013 legislative session that were highlighted by HPD brass included: --Bills designed to make it a felony to use a replica weapon while committing a robbery or making a threat against other people. Lawmakers should look at the issue from the perspective of victims, who usually will not be able to tell whether a weapon is real or simulated, said Maj. Richard Robinson.

--A bill creating a statewide ban on using cellphones and other electronic devices while driving. While each of the four counties currently has a cellphone ban, a statewide ban would allow the police departments to be eligible for federal highway dollars to enforce the bans, said Capt. Darren Izumo.

--A bill making it a felony to grab an officer's firearm while resisting arrest.

--Bills heightening the penalties for injuring substantially a police canine or other law enforcement officer.

HPD also reiterated its opposition to decriminalizing marijuana and support for bills outlawing Winner'z Zone sweepstakes machines. A federal judge ruled this week that the machines appear to be gambling devices under Hawaii law.

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