REPORT TITLE:
Low-Speed Vehicles


DESCRIPTION:
Regulates neighborhood electric vehicles, which are designed to
operate at speeds of 25 miles per hour or less.  Requires these
vehicles to display slow moving vehicle emblems.  (CD1)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                        700
THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           S.D. 2
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                H.D. 1
STATE OF HAWAII                                            C.D. 1
                                                             
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________


                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT

RELATING TO LOW-SPEED VEHICLES.



BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that there is a need to
 
 2 enact laws regarding the use of a low-speed motor vehicle known
 
 3 as the "neighborhood electric vehicle".
 
 4      A neighborhood electric vehicle is a small, enclosed, one or
 
 5 two passenger vehicle powered by rechargeable batteries and an
 
 6 electric motor.  It is designed to be used in a city environment
 
 7 to run errands, commute to and from work or school, and to make
 
 8 small, local deliveries.  Neighborhood electric vehicles are
 
 9 intended to be a lower cost, environmentally friendly alternative
 
10 to larger gasoline automobiles and traditional utility vehicles.
 
11 Transportation studies have demonstrated that the vast majority
 
12 of vehicular trips within cities are short requiring nothing
 
13 larger or more expensive than a neighborhood electric vehicle.
 
14 They make sense because they are designed for the most common
 
15 type of vehicle trip.
 
16      Neighborhood electric vehicles are small because, for most
 
17 city trips, a small vehicle minimizes traffic and parking
 
18 problems.  They are enclosed so they can be used in windy, rainy
 
19 weather.  Neighborhood electric vehicles are electric for several
 

 
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 1 good reasons:  electric motors do not create air pollution, they
 
 2 have powerful performance characteristics at low rpm, and they
 
 3 can re-charge from any 110 volt outlet.  Neighborhood electric
 
 4 vehicles typically carry one person because most car trips in
 
 5 cities are made by only one person, and the vast majority of
 
 6 trips within cities are of a short distance (less than ten
 
 7 miles).
 
 8      Cities around the world are literally being choked by air
 
 9 pollution and traffic congestion.  In many urban and suburban
 
10 settings, it is not healthy to go for a walk or ride a bike.  In
 
11 many cases, city dwellers need a vehicle to get to work, to
 
12 school, shopping, or visit the doctor.  Modern cities have been
 
13 designed to accommodate the widespread use of automobiles, which
 
14 has resulted in monumental social and environmental problems.
 
15      The solution is to use cleaner vehicles that do not pollute
 
16 city air, to use small vehicles that are appropriate for local
 
17 urban use, and to begin to change the design of cities so that
 
18 fewer and shorter trips are needed to enjoy a pleasant lifestyle.
 
19 Neighborhood electric vehicles can address these three solutions.
 
20 Neighborhood electric vehicles are designed to minimize the
 
21 social and environmental costs of urban transportation while
 
22 providing people with an independent and low cost way of getting
 
23 around town.
 

 
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 1      Transportation studies have repeatedly shown that seventy-
 
 2 five per cent of all travel in the United States is one person in
 
 3 a car going less than twenty-five miles in a day.  This type of
 
 4 vehicular use is a very inefficient use of petroleum.  Short
 
 5 trips cause the most pollution and the most wear and tear on the
 
 6 engine.  Electric vehicles are much more appropriate for this
 
 7 type of travel, being efficient, non-polluting, and having
 
 8 minimal impact.  Many people travel primarily in a local area, at
 
 9 about thirty miles an hour.  If they would use a small,
 
10 economical, environmentally friendly vehicle for those trips,
 
11 they would save money, help the environment, reduce the need for
 
12 more and wider streets, more parking lots, and garages.  In
 
13 addition, their gas vehicles would be used for more appropriate
 
14 uses that are easier on their engines, the vehicles would last
 
15 longer, and their mileage would stay low so the resale value
 
16 would be higher.
 
17      The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
 
18 responding to a growing public interest in using small four-
 
19 wheeled passenger vehicles to make short trips within retirement
 
20 and other planned communities, issued Federal Motor Vehicle
 
21 Safety Standard No. 500, Low-Speed Vehicles (49 C.F.R. 571.500),
 
22 effective June 17, 1998.  That standard requires the use of basic
 
23 safety equipment, including headlamps, front and rear turn signal
 

 
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 1 lamps, taillamps, stop lamps, reflectors, mirrors, a parking
 
 2 brake, windshields and wipers, and seat belts, on "low-speed
 
 3 vehicles", defined as a four-wheeled motor vehicle, other than a
 
 4 truck, whose maximum speed is between twenty and twenty-five
 
 5 miles per hour.  The principal vehicle in this class is the
 
 6 neighborhood electric vehicle.  While the rule does not apply to
 
 7 golf carts, because their speed as manufactured is less than
 
 8 twenty miles per hour, if any golf cart is modified on and after
 
 9 June 17, 1998, so that its maximum speed is over twenty miles per
 
10 hour, it must also conform to Standard No. 500.
 
11      The purpose of this Act is to regulate neighborhood electric
 
12 vehicles in order to provide for an economical, alternative form
 
13 of transportation, as well as to improve air quality and traffic
 
14 safety and to reduce traffic congestion.
 
15      SECTION 2.  Chapter 286, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
 
16 as follows:
 
17      1.  By adding a new definition to section 286-2 to be
 
18 appropriately inserted and to read:
 
19      ""Neighborhood electric vehicle" means a self-propelled
 
20 electrically powered motor vehicle to which all of the following
 
21 apply:
 
22      (1)  The vehicle is emission free;
 
23      (2)  The vehicle is designed to carry four or fewer persons;
 

 
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 1      (3)  The vehicle is designed to be and is operated at speeds
 
 2           of twenty-five miles per hour or less;
 
 3      (4)  The vehicle has at least four wheels in contact with
 
 4           the ground;
 
 5      (5)  The vehicle has an unladen weight of less than one
 
 6           thousand eight hundred pounds; and
 
 7      (6)  The vehicle conforms to the minimum safety equipment
 
 8           requirements as adopted in the Federal Motor Vehicle
 
 9           Safety Standard No. 500, Low Speed Vehicles (49 C.F.R.
 
10           571.500)."
 
11      2.  By amending subsection (b) of section 286-41 to read:
 
12      "(b)  Application for the registration of a vehicle shall be
 
13 made upon the appropriate form furnished by the director of
 
14 finance and shall contain the name, occupation, and address of
 
15 the owner and legal owner; and, if the applicant is a member of
 
16 the United States naval or military forces, the applicant shall
 
17 give the organization and station.  All applications shall also
 
18 contain a description of the vehicle, including the name of the
 
19 maker, the type of fuel for the use of which it is adapted (e.g.,
 
20 gasoline, diesel oil, liquefied petroleum gas), the serial or
 
21 motor number, and the date first sold by the manufacturer or
 
22 dealer, and such further description of the vehicle as is called
 
23 for in the form, and such other information as may be required by
 

 
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 1 the director of finance, to establish legal ownership.  A person
 
 2 applying for initial registration of a neighborhood electric
 
 3 vehicle shall certify in writing that a notice of the operational
 
 4 restrictions applying to the vehicle as provided in section
 
 5 291C-    are contained on a permanent notice attached to or
 
 6 painted on the vehicle in a location that is in clear view of the
 
 7 driver."
 
 8      SECTION 3.  Chapter 291C, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 
 9 amended as follows:
 
10      1.  By adding a new section to be appropriately designated
 
11 and to read:
 
12      "291C-    Neighborhood electric vehicles; speed;
 
13 restrictions.  (a)  A neighborhood electric vehicle shall not be
 
14 operated at a speed of more than twenty-five miles per hour.
 
15      (b)  A neighborhood electric vehicle shall not be driven on
 
16 a highway that has a posted speed limit of more than thirty-five
 
17 miles per hour.  This subsection does not prohibit a neighborhood
 
18 electric vehicle from crossing a highway that has a posted speed
 
19 limit of more than thirty-five miles per hour at an intersection.
 
20      (c)  A neighborhood electric vehicle shall have a notice of
 
21 the operational restrictions applying to the vehicle permanently
 
22 attached to or painted on the vehicle in a location that is in
 
23 clear view of the driver."
 

 
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 1      2.  By adding a new definition to section 291C-1 to be
 
 2 appropriately inserted and to read:
 
 3      ""Neighborhood electric vehicle" means a self-propelled
 
 4 electrically powered motor vehicle to which all of the following
 
 5 apply:
 
 6      (1)  The vehicle is emission free;
 
 7      (2)  The vehicle is designed to carry four or fewer persons;
 
 8      (3)  The vehicle is designed to be and is operated at speeds
 
 9           of twenty-five miles per hour or less;
 
10      (4)  The vehicle has at least four wheels in contact with
 
11           the ground;
 
12      (5)  The vehicle has an unladen weight of less than one
 
13           thousand eight hundred pounds; and
 
14      (6)  The vehicle conforms to the minimum safety equipment
 
15           requirements as adopted in the Federal Motor Vehicle
 
16           Safety Standard No. 500, Low Speed Vehicles (49 C.F.R.
 
17           571.500)."
 
18      3.  By amending subsection (a) of section 291C-53 to read:
 
19      "(a)  The director of transportation by rules adopted in
 
20 accordance with chapter 91, and the counties by ordinance, may
 
21 regulate or prohibit the use of any controlled-access roadway or
 
22 highway within their respective jurisdictions by any class or
 
23 kind of traffic which is found to be incompatible with the normal
 

 
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 1 and safe movement of traffic.  Persons operating motorcycles
 
 2 which are otherwise permitted on a controlled-access roadway or
 
 3 highway shall be permitted to use any high occupancy vehicle lane
 
 4 designated on such roadway or highway.  For the purposes of this
 
 5 subsection, "high occupancy vehicle lane" means a designated lane
 
 6 of a laned roadway where the use of such designated lane is
 
 7 restricted to vehicles carrying at least two persons and to other
 
 8 vehicles as provided by rules adopted in accordance with chapter
 
 9 91, or by county ordinance.  Notwithstanding any law to the
 
10 contrary, no person shall operate a neighborhood electric vehicle
 
11 on any controlled-access roadway or highway."
 
12      4.  By amending subsection (a) of section 291C-130 to read:
 
13      "(a)  Any vehicle, or combination of vehicles, designed to
 
14 operate at a speed of twenty-five miles per hour or less,
 
15 including a neighborhood electric vehicle, and traveling on a
 
16 public highway, [shall,] except when guarded by a flagperson or a
 
17 flare, or unless provided by ordinance, shall display a
 
18 triangular slow moving vehicle emblem meeting ASAE Standard
 
19 S276.2 as developed by the American Society of Agricultural
 
20 Engineers, mounted on the rear of the vehicle, or combination of
 
21 vehicles, base down and at a height of not less than three nor
 
22 more than five feet from the ground to base."
 
23      SECTION 4.  The director of transportation shall adopt rules
 

 
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 1 pursuant to chapter 91, Hawaii Revised Statutes, as may be
 
 2 necessary to regulate the use of neighborhood electric vehicles.
 
 3      SECTION 5.  This Act does not affect rights and duties that
 
 4 matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were
 
 5 begun, before its effective date.
 
 6      SECTION 6.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed.
 
 7 New statutory material is underscored.
 
 8      SECTION 7.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.