Monday, February 8, 2016

INVESTIGATION: Hawaii Laws Regarding Speed Contests and Sideshows? Comparison Against California's Law

California has a very tough stance against speed contests and sideshows, which originated in the Bay Area, specifically in Oakland - the birthplace of a sideshow. But there are some comparisons between the state of California and the state of Hawaii in regards to not only speed contests, but also the issue of sideshows. Both speed contests and sideshows are evidenced by recent social media posts that I've been trying to investigate for a few years regarding the illegal activity that also puts people in danger, such as a sideshow in West Oakland that was captured live on television.

So how did the state of Hawaii fare in regards to both speed contests and sideshows? Well, my research on laws regarding sideshows reveal that Hawaii does have a provision regarding speed contests, but failed to mention sideshows in my research of the island state - which is my focus of this short investigative blog.


The state of California has provisions against speed contests and sideshows in the state. California State Vehicle Code §23109 (including subsections A-D) states the clear definition of speed contests and sideshows, which has been going on in Oakland for many years, such as the Golden Gate Bridge reported by a local San Francisco station and sideshows in the Port of Oakland. Between the year 2001 and 2005, the number of citations widely varied between subsection A and subsection D, which overall indicated the number of arrested reported by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). By crunching the average number of citations based on the available data, the average number of citations total around 901.

Hawaii's law does mention "Racing on Highways" (which translates to "Speed Contests" in California in their jurisdiction) under Hawaii State Code §291C-103. In the provision, they include subsections for "drag race" (b), "racing" (c), and "exhibition of speed or acceleration" (d) - but no such mention of "sideshows." The provisions for the three subsections are similar to those of California, but minus the sideshow provision.

Upon my conclusion, I find that the state of Hawaii failed to address where the "sideshow" part falls under. California's definition of "sideshows" is defined as to drive in circles, stepping their pedals at high speed to create marks in order to burn rubber. This has been a regular occurance at various parking lots in both the Bay Area and in the Central Valley - particularly in Stockton, where for example, the Stockton police chief said that their members of the police department took to the streets of Stockton, Sacramento, and Modesto to find cars that were involved in the illegal activity within the Stockton city limits in June 2015. But my questions are raised in regards to the concern of not only illegal activity, but also sideshows in the state of Hawaii.

As the state of California explicitly said about the illegal activity in regards to speed contests and sideshows, the state of Hawaii has some tough questions to answer in regards to their provision that failed to include sideshows despite being relatively low and nearly non-existent. Whenever Hawaii plans to put that provision into place is going to be the responsibility of the state - putting their taxpayers at risk of forking over their funds to repave and repair some of the streets and highways caused by the illegal activity.

But there is more to this blog that I'll discuss perhaps next time that includes a connection to Santa Clara County - for now, below is an example that I found out about recently which shows an example of the possible illegal activity in Hawaii. This includes a sideshow performed in Hawaii - I only found out about the video post through my own investigation. The video(s) may contain explicit content and/or offensive language.

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak
REMARKS: This blog originates in Santa Clara County, California and is meant to get the facts. The video is posted by a different user and not the blogger. The blogger is not responsible for external links. Please do not repost this blog without permission unless authorized by the author of this blog. The actual names of the vehicle code in the states may differ than those written in this blog.

Chak's View: Recalling the Greyhound bus crash on U.S. 101 in South San Jose; The Impacts from Gilroy to San Jose

No pictures or visuals are shown in this blog - I recalled of what happened from my point of view of when I heard about the crash. I never saw the crash until the return trip, which I was about to describe. Only in my blog tells more than what television and radio reports never said about the crash that happened on January 19, 2016.


It was 6:30AM and my alarm went off at my San Martin nest. When I turned on the radio 10 minutes later, I suddenly woke up to listening to KLIV radio to hear a report of a bus accident on the U.S. 101 northbound at the high-occupancy lane (HOV) split to California State Route 85 in South San Jose, blocking both HOV lanes and lane 2 for much of the day, resembling like if it was before the 101 expansion back in 2003. It turned out to be very serious just as the morning commute was nearing it's peak on northbound 101 in Morgan Hill. Listeners of KLIV radio called into their newsroom to conform that the bus was indeed the Greyhound bus. The traffic backup was really bad from Cochrane Road exit, when the slow traffic normally goes from Masten Ave exit to before Cochrane Road. 

I left my San Martin nest at 8AM and began my drive to San Francisco's Chinatown, starting normally, but instead of entering the freeway from the east side of Tennant Avenue, I stayed on Tennant to head north on Butterfield Blvd as a precaution. But only 7 minutes into my driving encountered one horrendous slow traffic after another, starting along Butterfield Blvd just past the Diana Avenue signal intersection. City streets were in a near or total gridlock starting around the Caltrain station and lasting until drivers wanting to turn left onto Main Avenue at that signal intersection; many going to Britton Middle School and others wanting to get around the backup. Butterfield Blvd, meanwhile, only got a 1/2 mile relief from the backup, only to slow again just before another signal intersection at Digital/Jarvis up to the north end of the road at Cochrane, where drivers met a near-total gridlock coming from the 101 due to that major Greyhound bus crash.

I estimated that Sobrato High School student commuters may have taken an extra 10-15 minutes as commute traffic was in a total gridlock even after turning right onto Monterey Road from Cochrane. In the mix, I spotted two SolarCity vehicles trying to either make it's way back to the Morgan Hill office or a specific destination. They, too, were not spared from the commuter gridlock along the affected road, even when making a U-turn just after Butterfield to turn off to a side street just before Butterfield in the westbound direction. 

Traffic then flowed surprisingly smoothly on Monterey Road, although I was confined to only 55 miles per hour (MPH) or less due to a huge concern of another gridlock before entering the freeway. The slow-and-go traffic started again at Metcalf and ended on the ramp to eastbound Bernal Road leading up to the northbound 85 and 101 freeways. I elected to enter the 101 freeway at Blossom Hill Road instead, where traffic was not as stacked up as between Metcalf and Bernal Road. When the go-around was complete, it took me between 45-50 minutes to get around the Greyhound bus accident. 

As far as Santa Teresa Blvd (starting as Hale Ave in Morgan Hill), that eventually was slow that even Wonderley asked drivers to use Monterey Road instead because Santa Teresa was starting to become slower as the accident progressed, delaying Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) bus line 68. The other two VTA bus lines in the area, 121 and 168 (especially the latter due to their reliance on 101 and 85), also had to use Monterey Road as they were unable to access the HOV lanes. 

I would eventually return home and passing by the accident scene on my return trip - more on that later.


From the entrance to U.S. 101 northbound at Blossom Hill Road, traffic was light only between there and the junction to Interstate 280/680 interchange, where a near-total gridlock resumed my nightmare commute to San Francisco's Chinatown. At the start of the route, the remainder of the trip was done solely on 101. There were some switching between stop-and-go and slow-and-go between the I-280/680 junction and San Tomas/Montague Expressway exits, where I picked up speed only up to 50 miles per hour (MPH). That break only lasted 1.25 miles, of which traffic switched again between stop-and-go and slow-and-go from Lawrence Expressway all the way up to Palo Alto in part because of construction. I finally got full relief near the University Avenue exit in Palo Alto, and I got back up to speed, although I elected to speed up to 65 MPH, slowing occasionally at times to as far as 55 MPH as a precaution due to rain. 

At the San Francisco city limit line, I progressively had to slow down due to slow traffic on at the I-280 junction, but that slow traffic was not as bad as in much of Santa Clara County along 101, including the Greyhound bus accident. That delay only lasted me 10-15 minutes. I used the 4th Street exit after the transition to the I-80 eastbound ramp, and used my normal directions for Chinatown, which was along Kearny Street. However, my requested location was near the intersection of Grant Avenue and Pacific Avenue, which was my final destination, specifically Grant Avenue between Jackson and Pacific. Against a normal 75-minute (1 hour and 15 minutes) travel time between San Martin and Chinatown in SF, the final tallies for me turned out to be 3 hours and 10 minutes, of which more than 2/3 of the delays were contributed to a near-total gridlock in San Jose including the Greyhound bus crash. 


My return trip was only 2 hours due to a requested stop at Diver Dan's in Santa Clara to pick something up. After a 30-minute stop to drop something off at a local shop in San Francisco's Chinatown, I headed back to San Martin. Traffic for the most part was smooth and at the normal speed limit, despite the stop at Diver Dan's, which took an additional 30-minutes including pick-up and required me to exit at San Tomas Expressway from the southbound side. As I was driving on southbound 101, there were numerous CHP units working a 5-car accident on northbound 101 before the Holly Street exit, part of a huge CHP log that totaled 480 crashes in a single day along Bay Area roads. 

After the Diver Dan's pickup, I eventually passed the crash site, which even to the naked eye will note the serious damage done to the Greyhound bus. That Greyhound bus to me is confirmed to be the D4500 series, manufactured by Motor Coach Industries (MCI), upon verification of pictures that I reviewed on the website.


Traffic reporters from KCBS (740AM and 106.9FM on the dial) and KLIV (1590AM) were not too surprised to hear this Greyhound bus happening, and both stations kept listeners up to date on what was going on with the crash. Kim Wonderley from KCBS said that she had too many crash reports by CHP on Bay Area freeways, and at one time, I heard up to 91 incidents on Bay Area freeways at one time, thinking that this is almost a replica of the number of crashes in Los Angeles - but not really true. 

The Greyhound bus crash was not cleared until after 5PM, of which television news crews on the ground showed viewers a live picture of the bus towed away from the crash scene. Traffic anchors from various radio and television stations in the Bay Area and from ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC made some brief reports about the crash in San Jose when I tuned in as much as possible. The footage was broadcasted live on the NBC station - as opposed to the tape-delayed footage from the other stations.


The last time I heard about a huge backup in the morning commute direction on 101 between Morgan Hill and South San Jose was just about a month ago, when an accident tied up the morning commute that got as low as 7 miles per hour, which was reported by KSBW traffic anchor Michelle Allen - but not in the rain. 

However, the Greyhound bus crash on 101 was the worst of the 480 reported crashes around the Bay Area according to California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer Daniel Hill in many articles I read. The representatives from the CHP Gilroy/Hollister office spoke on camera about the crash, and there is a clear reason why he urged drivers to slow down.