Let’s face it, some things are just done differently from place to place. In Hawaii, it is easier to get rid of an unwanted vehicle by dumping it on the side of a road or in a remote area, rather than having it legally disposed of. Of course, this becomes a headache and major expense of taxpayers money for the authorities. The state pays hundreds of thousands of dollars to tow away abandoned vehicles but there are still lots of junked vehicles in fields and among the trees. Why is this so, you may ask? Well, the proper way to get rid of a car is to sell it or have it junked. But it seems it takes too much trouble to do so. To sell a car, you require 3 documents – a registration, title, and safety inspection. But acquiring and holding on to these documents is not easy. According to David Morgan, a transplant from Florida who lived in Hawaii, “ It’s easier to paddle the Molokai channel than deal with the Hawaii DMV.”
Hawaii is full of transplants who are constantly moving on and off the islands. When they leave Hawaii for the mainland, they often leave their cars behind if they can’t sell it. It seems there are just too many hoops to jump through and absurd rules – “ You can’t get a registration renewed without a valid safety inspection, and you can’t get a safety inspection without an up to date registration,” Morgan explains. The cars are often referred to as “island beaters,” as they take a beating from the sun, sand, salt, and rust, often used to transport surfers, boards, and wet dogs from one surf spot to another. When they leave Hawaii, it is not feasible to take their cars with them, and most who do not want to go through the hassles of fixing the documents just leave it on the side of the road or in a remote field. Also, while most states make it convenient for you to register your vehicle to inform you when it is time to renew, Hawaii does no such thing… there is no essence of time, just endless sunsets and sunrises. And the cops couldn’t care less about registrations. If you get caught using a vehicle that is not renewed, you pay a fine of about $100. Compare this to the $300 a year it costs to renew your registration. It seems obvious that people would rather risk a ticket than spend for the registration. That plus the problems with a title and safety inspection will make you consider other alternatives to selling your car.
Maybe you can donate it, right? You can’t even give away a car without a title! So, economically, it seems to be a good idea just to leave it behind. Well, it may not be the right thing to do, but most people really have no choice. But one German photographer saw beauty in junk. Thomas Strogalski decided to photograph old discarded vehicles consumed by foliage and vines. “I am fascinated by the thought that in the end nature will take over man,” he mentioned. “With peace, lasting continuity, flexibility in harmony with permanent adaptation, nature seems to reclaim what one wants to take away from it,” Strogalski adds. Well, if the government of Hawaii does not make things easier, there will be more vehicles to photograph.