Abandoned vehicles driving call for action

  • Jessica Else / The Garden Island

    This Toyota Corolla has been tagged as abandoned along the side of Nawiliwili Road near Kukui Grove Center.

LIHUE — Abandoned cars were on the table at Wednesday’s Kauai County Council Parks and Recreation/Transportation Committee meeting, with councilmembers voicing concerns about the high number of banged-up vehicles appearing along roadsides, in county parks and on beaches.

“(It’s a) major complaint we get from a lot of our constituents,” said Councilmember KipuKai Kuali‘i, as they listened to a report from a Kauai Police Department representatives. “It’s important (for) tourism as well — the beautification of our island.”

Councilmember Felicia Cowden said she’s gotten complaints from all across the island, specifically naming Kalaheo, Anahola and Wainiha Powerhouse Road — all places where abandoned vehicles seem to re-accumulate as soon as KPD sends a tow truck to remove the ones already reported.

“There’s a fresh batch right after they’ve been taken out,” Cowden said of the abandoned vehicles at the intersection of Kuhio Highway and Wainiha Powerhouse Road.

The abandoned vehicles present an eyesore, and also have the potential for posing environmental hazards if they leak fluids. Another potential hazard could be due to broken glass or other jagged parts.

Often by the time they’re reported, tagged and towed, tires are removed, windshields are smashed, gas has been siphoned and anything of value has been stripped away.

June brought a new law mandating a 10-day timeframe to remove abandoned and derelict vehicles — and that’s just not feasible, according to KPD.

In early February, Acting Assistant Chief Paul Applegate told TGI that KPD is “working toward increasing our staff in order to be compliant,” but the new timeframe is impossible to accommodate.

KPD has one staff member dedicated to abandoned-vehicle recovery, one contracted towing company for abandoned vehicles and one towing company contracted for derelict vehicles.

The entity still has more than 100 complaints leftover from 2018, and they’re receiving multiple complaints daily to add to that number.

The reasons for abandoning vehicles can be varied, and many times have to do with not having the proper paperwork to be able to surrender the vehicle to Puhi Metals Recycling facility for proper recycling — a junking affidavit, license plates, and certificate of title. The process also requires a trip to the county Finance Department Motor Vehicle Licensing section..

Chanel Kaeo, association president for Lihue Industrial Park phase two, voiced support for all KPD is doing to respond to abandoned-vehicle complaints, but said more should be done.

“We have to make better ordinances for Kauai to help,” she said. “Maybe the fees have to be higher for those causing the problem. In the industrial park, there’s only a few bad apples making it hard for everybody else.”

Cowden pointed out another potential help would be to remind people they can discard their vehicles at Puhi Metals Recycling, and for under $100.

Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro suggested people could make it easier for the county to respond to these reported vehicles by simply abandoning their vehicle at Puhi Metals Recycling.

“At least that would help with tow costs,” he said. “Make it easy on people, be responsible. Bring your vehicle where it needs to be disposed of.”


Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@thegardenisland.com.

  1. behappy February 28, 2019 3:25 am Reply

    Many states have scrap metal companies that offer scrap metal prices for cars. Owners sometimes receive hundreds of dollars for old scrapped cars. Why does Kauai not have a company or facility through the state that pays for them? It would definitely take care of the problem rather than asking an owner to pay to recycle a car. The recycle company gets paid for the metal so why not share the profit with the owner and clean the island of the unwanted cars?

    1. MisterM February 28, 2019 4:58 pm Reply

      Er, perhaps it’s because you’re on a remote island in the middle of the friggin Pacific?

      Only a total scumbag would abandon a vehicle.

  2. harry oyama February 28, 2019 3:35 am Reply

    I am surprised seeing an abandoned Toyota, usually its an American made vehicle that’s F.O.R.D. Found On the Road Dead or Fixed Or Repaired Daily.

  3. ruthann jones February 28, 2019 6:27 am Reply

    ah, yes…getting rid of those pesky tourists and BEAUTIFYING the island! Carry on.

  4. LINDA Sciaroni February 28, 2019 9:59 am Reply

    Dumping fees of any kind do not help. That is because they only apply to the last owner. So someone enjoys the use of a car on Kauai for 10 years and then sells it. That second buyer probably has less resources than the original owner.

    Like the bottle deposit. The fee must be on the person who brings the item to Kauai and the incentive has to be for the person who delivers it to the correct dumping site.

  5. Kauaidoug February 28, 2019 10:07 am Reply

    Another example of it not being convenient to recycle on Kaua’i. Yes, we all know we shouldn’t abandon the car on the side of the road but sometimes people just don’t have the junk fee, the time, the transportation(how close the nearest bus stop) to do the right thing. BTW. How long does it take to invest an abondoned car, call a tow and remove be? That would be enlightening.

  6. FunnyWhoTheyTarget February 28, 2019 10:16 am Reply

    Thata funny how county officials and DOT for county and state won’t act in a timely manner but if you speak up on them then they target you and put tickets on cars parked in your front yard.

    This is how inefficient employees from the county of Kauai and state of Hawaii act. These public sector employees are an embarrassment.

    Doing your job at the county and state level is watching Netflix or your phone for 6-8 hours a day. Who monitors who to get the job done?

    In the private sector you are monitored but in the public sector on Kauai the animals are in charge and the zoo is an automatic chaotic gossip machine that doesn’t no work at all.

    3-4 county of Kauai audits have facts to support the lazy ineptitude of an overmanned and overbloated county budget. This gluttony is the 80% personnel budget problem that raises taxes every years with nothing to show for.

    Kauai needs to elects a team of responsible adults to identify these problems and come up with real solutions like Walmart and Safeway did with self check outs to get rid of wasteful spending on dead weight nepotism. Directors needs to be held accountable for their actions and inactions.

    Funny how county can’t attack certain people but not do their job when it’s in plain sight like the horrible county parks restrooms that has plagued the communities of Kauai and proven that hiring your friends for county contracts worth $$$$$$ is a fraud, waste, and abuse scheme when they don’t live up to their contractual agreement (I wouldn’t doubt that they probably didn’t draw up such document for the no bid illegal contract.)

  7. doug henry February 28, 2019 10:46 am Reply

    Get the license or vin number and prosecute the individual. Make them pay for the removal.

  8. Imua44 February 28, 2019 2:05 pm Reply

    Post notice. 48 hours or this vehicle is towed. Have any tow truck operator allowed to post notice and tow. Get a County holding yard, charge 50 a day for storage, if no can pay, sell or junk car. The tow operators will do a good job. No need 3 police officers at 100k per year to coordinate this easy task

  9. manongindashadow February 28, 2019 3:57 pm Reply

    It’s in fair to cite the first owner. Especially if he/she sold the vehicle(s) and sent the little strip of paper on the tittle to DMV acknowledging that they sold the vehicle(s). On that strip of paper there is the name of the new owner who purchased the vehicle from the first owner.
    There is no reason why KPD can not find and cite a new owner. All the KPD Officer has to do is call DMV to find out the info of an abandon/derelict vehicle found.

  10. Lee March 1, 2019 8:45 am Reply

    Jessica, I’m glad you’re on TGI staff. I’ve seen many important and well-written stories by you. Thanks. Now, didn’t we have a similar story last month regarding an abandoned vehicle on a beach near Anahola? I recall the enforcement people claiming they remove cars within a couple days. Clearly, this follow up story points to serious issues that are not being resolved.

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