HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

1933

TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2018

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

Relating to Motor Vehicles.

 

 

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

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that over 1.2 million motor vehicles were registered in the State in 2015. It is estimated that thousands of these vehicles have been sold by their last registered owner but have never been transferred into the name of the new owner. These vehicles are listed in county motor vehicle records as "transfer pending."

The legislature also finds that section 286-52, Hawaii Revised Statutes, requires the seller of a motor vehicle to provide notice to the director of finance of the relevant county within ten days of a vehicle sale. However, section 286-52, Hawaii Revised Statutes, also requires the buyer of the vehicle to submit to the director of finance a properly endorsed certificate of ownership within thirty days of the sale. In many cases where vehicles have a "transfer pending" status, the seller of the vehicle complied with the seller's obligations, but the buyer failed to complete the buyer's obligations. In addition, because Hawaii law does not require the county director of finance to verify the new owner's identification listed in the "notice of transfer" form submitted by the seller, counties often do not know who owns these improperly transferred vehicles for which the transfer of ownership has not been perfected.

The legislature is concerned that criminals have been committing numerous crimes using vehicles without perfected transfers, including sexual assaults, robberies, burglaries, thefts, and purse snatchings. Although witnesses often are able to record the license plates of vehicles involved in these crimes, this information is of little help to law enforcement since current ownership of the vehicles was not properly completed.

The legislature believes that requiring transferees of motor vehicles, mopeds, and trailers to verify their identification to the respective county director of finance will help to ensure that county vehicle ownership records are current and complete. This requirement will also improve community safety by making it easier for law enforcement to determine the ownership of vehicles used in crimes.

The purpose of this Act is to:

(1) Require transferors and transferees of used motor vehicles, mopeds, and trailers, including those owned by persons who do not intend to drive them on public highways, to appear together before the county director of finance and present government-issued identification to finalize the transfer;

(2) Require police officers to remove from public streets any motor vehicles, mopeds, or trailers not properly transferred in compliance with these procedures;

(3) Prohibit vehicles removed from public streets pursuant to paragraph (2) from being released to a transferee unless the transferee presents a valid certificate of ownership; and

(4) Allow a towing facility to dispose of vehicles not claimed within thirty days of removal from a public street.

SECTION 2. Section 249-14.2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]249-14.2[]] Procedure when registration of a bicycle or moped transferred. (a) Upon transfer of registered ownership in or to a bicycle or moped, the [person whose interest is to be transferred] transferor and the transferee shall write their signatures with pen and ink upon the certificate of registration issued for the bicycle or moped, together with the address of the transferee in the appropriate space provided upon the certificate.

(b) Within thirty calendar days of the transfer of registered ownership of a bicycle or moped[, the]:

(1) The transferee of a bicycle shall forward the certificate of registration so endorsed to the director of finance [who shall file the certificate.]; and

(2) The transferor and transferee of a moped shall appear together before the director of finance to present the certificate of registration endorsed pursuant to subsection (a); provided that the director of finance shall require the transferor and transferee to present valid government-issued identification before accepting the certificate.

The director of finance may charge a fee of $5 which shall be deposited into the county bikeway fund for each new certificate of registration issued. Whenever a transferor or transferee fails to comply with these provisions, the director of finance shall charge the person not in compliance a fee of $10, in addition to the fee provided in this section, for the issuance of a new certificate of registration.

(c) [The] After certifying that the transferor and transferee have complied with subsections (a) and (b), the director of finance[, upon receipt of the certificate of registration properly endorsed and the required fee,] shall:

(1) File the certificate;

(2) [register] Register the bicycle or moped; and

(3) [shall issue] Issue to the owner thereof by reason of the transfer a new certificate of registration in the manner and form provided for in an original registration.

(d) Until the director of finance has issued the new certificate of registration as provided in subsection (c), delivery of [such] the bicycle or moped shall be deemed not to have been made [and], the registration [thereto] shall be deemed not to have passed, and the intended transfer shall be deemed to be incomplete and not to be valid or effective for any purpose.

(e) In the event of the transfer by operation of law in or to a bicycle or moped, as upon inheritance, devise, or bequest, order in bankruptcy, or insolvency, execution sale, repossession upon default in performance of the terms of a lease or executory sales contract, or otherwise than by the voluntary act of the person whose interest is to be transferred, the certificate of registration shall be signed upon the spaces provided by the personal representative of, or successor in interest of the person whose registered ownership or interest is so transferred in lieu of [such] the person. Every personal representative, receiver, trustee, sheriff, or other representative hereinabove referred to shall file with the director of finance a notice of any transfer by sale, lease, or otherwise by the person, of any [such] bicycle or moped, together with evidence satisfactory to the director of finance of all facts entitling [such] the representative to make the transfer.

(f) Any person who refuses or neglects to deliver a certificate of registration to a transferee entitled thereto under this section, shall be [punished as] subject to the penalty provided in section 249-14.6.

(g) Every dealer or manufacturer, upon transferring a bicycle or moped, whether by sale, lease, or otherwise, shall immediately give notice of the transfer to the director of finance upon the official form provided by the director of finance. [Every such] The notice shall contain the date of the transfer, the names and addresses of the transferor and transferee, and [such] a description of the bicycle or moped as may be called for in the official form.

(h) Every person, other than a dealer, upon transferring a bicycle or moped, whether by sale, lease, or otherwise, shall within ten days give notice of the transfer to the director of finance upon the official form provided by the director of finance. Every notice shall contain the date of transfer, the names and addresses of the transferor and transferee, and [such] a description of the bicycle or moped as may be called for in the official form. Any person who violates this subsection shall be fined not more than $100.

(i) Whenever the registered owner of a bicycle or moped or any dealer or manufacturer has given notice to the director of finance of a transfer of the registered ownership to the bicycle or moped, as provided in subsection (g) or (h), and has delivered the certificate of registration bearing the transferor's signature to the transferee as required by subsection (a), the transferor shall be relieved from liability, civil or criminal, which the transferor might subsequently incur by reason of being the registered owner of the bicycle or moped.

(j) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a police officer shall remove from a public street any moped for which the director of finance has received a notice of transfer as provided in subsection (h), but whose transferee has not been issued a certificate of ownership within thirty days of the transfer due to noncompliance with subsection (b). The driver of the moped shall be cited and fined not more than $100. A moped removed from the street pursuant to this subsection:

(1) Shall not be released to a transferee unless the transferee presents a valid certificate of ownership; and

(2) If not released pursuant to paragraph (1), shall be disposed of not less than thirty calendar days after being removed from the street; provided that the disposal shall comply with part I of chapter 290.

[(j)] (k) Any person who falsely or fraudulently gives notice to the director of finance of a transfer of registered ownership to a bicycle or moped shall be subject to the penalty provided in section 249-14.6."

SECTION 3. Section 286-52, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"286-52 Procedure when title of vehicle transferred; delivery of certificate mandatory. (a) Upon a transfer of the title or interest of a legal owner in or to a vehicle registered under this part, the [person whose title or interest is to be transferred] transferor and the transferee shall write their signatures with pen and ink upon the certificate of ownership issued for the vehicle, together with the address of the transferee in the appropriate space provided upon the certificate.

(b) Within thirty calendar days thereafter, the transferor and transferee shall [forward the certificate of ownership so endorsed to] appear together before the director of finance [who shall file the same;] to present the certificate of registration endorsed pursuant to subsection (a); provided that [if]:

(1) The director of finance shall require the transferor and transferee to present valid government-issued identification before accepting the certificate; and

(2) If the recorded lien holder does not have an office in the State, the applicable period shall be sixty days.

Whenever a transferor or transferee fails to comply with these provisions, the director of finance shall charge the person not in compliance a fee of $50, in addition to the fee provided in section 286-51, for a new certificate of ownership.

(c) [Subsection (b), requiring a transferee to forward the certificate of ownership after endorsement to the director of finance, shall not apply to the transferee of a vehicle who was not intending to and does not drive the vehicle or permit the vehicle to be driven upon the public highways, but every such transferee, upon transferring the transferee's interest or title to another, shall give notice of the transfer to the director of finance and endorse the certificate of ownership to the new legal owner and the certificate of registration to the new owner; provided that if] If the director of finance has ascertained as of the date of the application that the registered owner has not deposited or paid bail with respect to any summons or citation issued to the registered owner for stopping, standing, or parking in violation of traffic ordinances within the county, the director may require, as a condition precedent to the transfer, that the registered owner deposit or pay bail with respect to all [such summons] outstanding summonses or citations.

(d) [The] After certifying that the transferor and transferee have complied with subsection (b), the director of finance[, upon receipt of the certificate of ownership properly endorsed,] shall [register]:

(1) File the certificate;

(2) Register the vehicle[,]; and

(3) [shall issue] Issue to the owner and legal owner entitled thereto by reason of the transfer a new certificate of registration and the certificate of ownership, respectively, in the manner and form hereinabove provided for original registration.

(e) Until the director of finance has issued the new certificate of registration and certificate of ownership [as in] pursuant to subsection (d) [provided], delivery of [such] the vehicle shall be deemed not to have been made and title thereto shall be deemed not to have passed, and the intended transfer shall be deemed to be incomplete and not to be valid or effective for any purpose, notwithstanding any provision of the Uniform Commercial Code; provided that a security interest in a motor vehicle shall be perfected as provided in the Uniform Commercial Code, section 490:9-311 and that the validity, attachment, priority, and enforcement of [such] the security interest shall be governed by Article 9 of the Code.

(f) In the event of the transfer by operation of law of the title or interest of a legal owner in and to a vehicle registered under this part, as upon inheritance, devise, or bequest, order in bankruptcy, or insolvency, execution sale, repossession upon default in performance of the terms of a lease or executory sales contract, or otherwise than by the voluntary act of the person whose title or interest is so transferred, the certificate of ownership shall be signed upon the spaces provided by the personal representative, receiver, trustee, sheriff, or other representative, or successor in interest of the person whose title or interest is so transferred in lieu of [such] the person. Every personal representative, receiver, trustee, sheriff, or other representative hereinabove referred to shall file with the director of finance a notice of any transfer by sale, lease, or otherwise by [such] the person, of any [such] the vehicle[,] being transferred, together with evidence satisfactory to the director of finance of all facts entitling [such] the representative to make the transfer. Upon notice given to the director of finance that transfer by operation of law of the title or interest of a legal owner or a registered owner has been effected pursuant to any provision of law, the director of finance shall send to the legal owner or the registered owner or both a notice by registered mail of [such] the action and requesting the delivery to the director of finance of the certificate of ownership or the certificate of registration, as the case may be, within ten days after date of mailing of the notice, and any person who refuses or neglects to deliver the same to the director of finance pursuant to the notice shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be [punished as] subject to the penalty provided in section 286-61.

(g) Nothing in the foregoing subsections shall prevent a legal owner from assigning the title or interest in or to a vehicle registered under this part to another legal owner at any time without the consent of and without affecting the interest of the holder of the certificate of registration thereof. Upon filing with the director of finance [of] a certificate of ownership endorsed by the legal owner and a transferee of legal ownership, the director of finance [shall], whether the certificate of registration has expired or not, shall enter the name of the new legal owner upon the records of the director's office and shall [forthwith] issue a new certificate of ownership to the new legal owner in the form for original registration. Upon so doing, the director of finance shall send to the registered owner a notice by mail of the action.

(h) Any person who refuses or neglects to deliver a certificate of ownership to a transferee entitled thereto under this part, shall be [punished as] subject to the penalty provided in section 286-61.

(i) Every dealer, upon transferring a motor vehicle, whether by sale, lease, or otherwise, shall immediately give notice of the transfer to the director of finance upon the official form provided by the director of finance. [Every such] The notice shall contain the date of the transfer, the names and addresses of the transferor and transferee, and [such] a description of the vehicle as may be called for in the official form.

(j) Every person, other than a dealer, upon transferring a motor vehicle, whether by sale, lease, or otherwise, shall within ten days give notice of the transfer to the director of finance upon the official form provided by the director of finance. Every notice shall contain the date of transfer, the names and addresses of the transferor and transferee, and [such] a description of the vehicle as may be called for in the official form. Any person who violates this subsection shall be fined not more than $100.

(k) Whenever the registered owner of any motor vehicle or any licensed dealer has given notice to the director of finance of a transfer of the title or interest in the motor vehicle, as provided in subsection (i) or (j), and has delivered the certificate of ownership bearing the transferor's signature to the transferee as required by subsection (a), the transferor shall be relieved from any liability, civil or criminal, from the date the transferor delivers the motor vehicle into the transferee's possession, which the transferor might otherwise subsequently incur by reason solely of being the registered owner of the vehicle.

(l) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a police officer shall remove from a public street any vehicle for which the director of finance has received notice of transfer pursuant to subsection (j), but whose transferee has not been issued a certificate of ownership within thirty days of the transfer due to noncompliance with subsection (b). The driver of the vehicle shall be cited and fined not more than $100. A vehicle removed from the street pursuant to this subsection:

(1) Shall not be released to a transferee unless the transferee presents a valid certificate of ownership; and

(2) If not released pursuant to paragraph (1), shall be disposed of not less than thirty calendar days after being removed from the street; provided that the disposal shall comply with part I of chapter 290.

[(l)] (m) A licensed dealer who has forwarded a properly endorsed certificate of ownership to the director of finance shall be relieved of any civil liability, from the date the transferor delivers the motor vehicle into the transferee's possession, which the transferor might otherwise subsequently incur by reason solely of being the registered owner of the vehicle; provided that a specific written authorization to forward the certificate has been obtained from the transferee.

[(m)] (n) Any person who falsely or fraudulently gives notice to the director of finance of a transfer of title or interest in a motor vehicle shall be subject to the penalty provided in section 286-61."

SECTION 4. Section 286-52.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"286-52.5 Procedure when registration of a trailer transferred. (a) Upon transfer of registered ownership in or to a trailer, the [person whose interest is to be transferred] transferor and [the] transferee shall write their signatures with pen and ink upon the certificate of registration issued for the trailer, together with the address of the transferee in the appropriate space provided upon the certificate.

(b) Within thirty calendar days of the transfer of registered ownership of a trailer, the transferor and transferee shall [forward the certificate of registration to] appear together before the director of finance [who shall file the certificate.] to present the certificate of registration endorsed pursuant to subsection (a); provided that the director of finance shall require the transferor and transferee to present valid government-issued identification before accepting the certificate. Whenever a transferor or transferee fails to comply with this section, the director of finance shall charge the [transferee] person not in compliance a fee of $50, in addition to the fee provided in this section, for the issuance of a new certificate of registration.

(c) If the director of finance has ascertained as of the date of the application that the registered owner has not deposited or paid bail with respect to any summons or citation issued to the registered owner for stopping, standing, or parking in violation of traffic ordinances within the county, the director may require, as a condition precedent to the transfer, that the registered owner deposit or pay bail with respect to all [such] outstanding summonses or citations.

(d) The director of finance, upon receipt of the certificate of registration properly endorsed, shall:

(1) File the certificate;

(2) [register] Register the trailer; and

(3) [shall issue] Issue to the owner thereof by reason of the transfer a new certificate of registration in the manner and form provided for original registration.

(e) Until the director of finance has issued the new certificate of registration as provided in subsection (d), delivery of [such] the trailer shall be deemed not to have been made and registration thereto shall be deemed not to have passed, and the intended transfer shall be deemed to be incomplete and not to be valid or effective for any purpose.

(f) In the event of the transfer by operation of law in or to a trailer registered under section 286-47.2, as upon inheritance, devise, or bequest, order in bankruptcy, or insolvency, execution sale, repossession upon default in performance of the terms of a lease or executory sales contract, or otherwise than by the voluntary act of the person whose interest is to be transferred, the certificate of registration shall be signed upon the spaces provided by the personal representative of, or successor in interest of the person whose registered ownership or interest is so transferred in lieu of [such] the person. Every personal representative, receiver, trustee, sheriff, or other personal representative hereinabove referred to shall file with the director of finance a notice of any transfer by sale, lease, or otherwise by the person, of any [such] trailer, together with evidence satisfactory to the director of finance of all facts entitling [such] the representative to make the transfer.

(g) Any person who refuses or neglects to deliver a certificate of registration to a transferee entitled thereto under this section, shall be [punished as] subject to the penalty provided in section 286-61.

(h) Every dealer or manufacturer, upon transferring a trailer, whether by sale, lease, or otherwise, shall immediately give notice of the transfer to the director of finance upon the official form provided by the director of finance. Every [such] notice shall contain the date of transfer, the names and addresses of the transferor and transferee, and [such] a description of the trailer as may be called for in the official form.

(i) Every person, other than a dealer or manufacturer, upon transferring a trailer, whether by sale, lease, or otherwise, shall within ten days give notice of the transfer to the director of finance upon the official form provided by the director of finance. Every notice shall contain the date of transfer, the names and addresses of the transferor and transferee, and [such] a description of the trailer as may be called for in the official form. Any person who violates this subsection shall be fined not more than $100.

(j) Whenever the registered owner of any trailer or any dealer or manufacturer has given notice to the director of finance of a transfer of the registered ownership to the trailer, as provided in subsections (h) and (i), and has delivered the certificate of registration bearing the transferor's signature to the transferee as required by subsection (a), the transferor shall be relieved from liability, civil or criminal, which the transferor might subsequently incur by reason of being the registered owner of the trailer.

(k) A dealer or manufacturer who has forwarded a properly endorsed certificate of registration to the director of finance shall be relieved of any civil liability, only if, in addition to the requirement of subsection (j), the dealer or manufacturer obtains from the transferee a specific written authorization to forward the certificate.

(l) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a police officer shall remove from a public street any trailer for which the director of finance has been given notice of transfer pursuant to subsection (i), but whose owner has not been issued a certificate of ownership within thirty days of the transfer due to noncompliance with subsection (b). The driver of the motor vehicle drawing the trailer shall be cited and fined not more than $100. A trailer removed from the street pursuant to this subsection:

(1) Shall not be released to a transferee unless the transferee presents a valid certificate of ownership; and

(2) If not released pursuant to paragraph (1), shall be disposed of not less than thirty calendar days after being removed from the street; provided that the disposal comply with part I of chapter 290.

[(l)] (m) Any person who falsely or fraudulently gives notice to the director of finance of a transfer of registered ownership to a trailer shall be subject to the penalty provided in section 286-61.

[(m)] (n) The director of finance may charge a fee which shall be deposited in the general fund for each new certificate of registration issued. The fee charged to issue a new certificate of registration shall be established by the county's legislative body."

SECTION 5. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 6. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Counties; Motor Vehicles; Mopeds; Trailers; Transfer of Ownership

 

Description:

Requires transferors and transferees of used motor vehicles, mopeds, and trailers, including motor vehicles whose owners do not intend to drive the vehicle on public highways, to appear together before the county director of finance with government-issued identification to finalize a transfer of ownership. Directs police officers to remove from public streets any motor vehicle, moped, or trailer not properly transferred. Requires transferees to present a valid certificate of ownership in order to claim a vehicle removed from a public street.

 

 

 

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