HPD Comments on Unsafe Saddle Road Passing

The Hawaiʻi Police Department says it has received complaints of drivers overtaking other vehicles in an unsafe manner on Saddle Road.  One of the concerns has been that drivers are dangerously overtaking other vehicles in areas where two lanes of traffic are headed one direction and a third headed in the opposite direction.

Hawaiʻi Revised Statute 291C-45 indicates that “No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless authorized by this part and unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle overtaken….”

It is a violation of HRS 291C-45 if a driver uses the interior lane of a roadway to overtake a vehicle when the exterior lane is occupied by an oncoming traffic.  For a driver to legally overtake another vehicle both lanes must be clear of oncoming traffic and the maneuver must be performed in a designated passing area.

A second concern is that vehicles traveling slower the “normal speed of traffic” fail to travel in the right lane to allow vehicles to safely pass them.  This is also another violation of Hawaiʻi Revised Statute.

HRS 291C-41 Drive on right side of roadway:

(b)  Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

HPD is asking for the public’s help in stopping this kind of driving behavior and reporting it through its webpage when you are not driving.  Go to the “Contact Us” drop down and click on the “Report Unsafe Drivers” tab.  Complete the report and forward it to the email listed.  A violation letter will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle outlining the violation observed.  All reporting parties will remain anonymous.  As with any situation, if you believe it is eminently dangerous for you or someone else, please call 9-1-1 for assistance.

[§291C-45]  Limitations on overtaking on the left.  No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless authorized by this part and unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle overtaken.  In every event the overtaking vehicle must return to an authorized lane of travel as soon as practicable and in the event the passing movement involves the use of a lane authorized for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, before coming within two hundred feet of any approaching vehicle. [L 1971, c 150, pt of §1]

[§291C-49] Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic the following rules in addition to all others consistent herewith shall apply.

(1) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.

(2) Upon a roadway which is divided into three lanes and provides for two-way movement of traffic, a vehicle shall not be driven in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction when the center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance, or in preparation for making a left turn or where the center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the same direction that the vehicle is proceeding and such allocation is designated by official traffic-control devices.

(3) Official traffic-control devices may be erected directing specified traffic to use a designated lane or designating those lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction regardless of the center of the roadway and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such sign.

(4) Official traffic-control devices may be installed prohibiting the changing of lanes on sections of roadway and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device.

HPD provided Image depicts diagram of unsafe overtaking

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