Usage of neon underglow lighting is governed by Hawaii Vehicle Code, Division 1: Government, Title 17: Motor and Other Vehicles, Chapter 291: Traffic Violations, Part II: Equipment.
Is neon underglow legal in Hawaii?
Hawaii law does not restrict additional aftermarket vehicle lighting which would include neon underglow. Therefore it’s our conclusion that in Hawaii neon underglow is not illegal, as long as you follow these restrictions:
- Red and blue colors are not permitted
- License plate illumination must be white
Though not specifically restricted, we strongly suggest avoiding any kind of flashing, rotating or oscillating undercarriage lighting. These are considered a distraction and may be subject to other regulations.
We also recommend avoiding colors green and violet on any aftermarket lights including underbody glow, as these colors are typically used on emergency vehicles.
In all cases you should avoid red and blue colors on any aftermarket lights installed on your car. Blue color or a combination of blue and red is punishable by law with a fine up to $1,000, or up to 1 year in prison, or even both.
There are no relevant HI laws which specifically restrict or prohibit installing car underglow, meaning we consider it legal to use it while driving.
Hawaii vehicle lighting laws
Below are all relevant excerpts from Hawaii Vehicle Code that limit, restrict or allow certain aftermarket lights to be installed on vehicles.
§291-31 Tail lights on vehicles, motorcycles and motor scooters.
[...] registration number plate is required by law to be carried on the rear thereof, the same shall be illuminated by a white light [...]
291-31.5 Blue lights prohibited for motor vehicles, motorcycles, motor scooters, bicycles, mopeds.
§291-31.5 Blue lights prohibited for motor vehicles, motorcycles, motor scooters, bicycles, mopeds. (a) No person shall knowingly operate, affix or cause to be affixed, display, or possess any lamp, reflector, or illumination device that appears to be the color blue, or colors blue and red, upon any motor vehicle, motorcycle, motor scooter, bicycle, or moped except for:
(1) County law enforcement vehicles authorized and approved by the chief of police of the county in which the vehicle is operated;
(2) Department of public safety law enforcement vehicles with blue and red lamps, reflectors, or illumination devices authorized and approved by the director of public safety; or
(3) Department of land and natural resources division of conservation and resources enforcement vehicles with blue and red lamps, reflectors, or illumination devices authorized and approved by the chairperson of the board of land and natural resources.
(b) Any violation of this section shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both.
This prohibition shall not apply to factory-installed instrument illumination.
As per Hawaii Revised Statutes § 291-31.5, the punishment for display a blue or blue and red lights on a vehicle will result in a fine up to $1,000. Violating other vehicle lighting regulations is punishable by a $10 fine.
[...] (b) Whoever violates any of the provisions of this section, or of sections 291-25 to 291-31, shall be fined not more than $10. Each violation shall be deemed a separate offense, and a subsequent violation of the same provision within a one-year period shall be subject to twice the fine imposed upon the prior conviction therefor.
Honolulu Neon Underglow Laws
According to Honolulu code (link; .PDF file, scroll to page 18), using additional lighting equipment including car underglow is not illegal. You may not use any kind of flashing lights, and colors green, red and blue are prohibited.
Sec. 15-19.1 Scope and effect of regulations.
(a) It is a misdemeanor for any person to drive or move or for the registered owner to cause or knowingly permit to be driven or moved on any highway any vehicle or combination of vehicles which is in such unsafe condition as to endanger any person, or which does not contain those parts or is not at all times equipped with such lamps and other equipment in proper condition and adjustment as required in this article, or for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required under this article.
(b) Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to prohibit the use of additional parts and accessories on any vehicle not inconsistent with the provisions of this article
As per the section above, the law does not prohibit installing any additional aftermarket lights are long as they’re not inconsistent with other regulations. There is no specific mention of underglow being illegal.
Sec. 15-19.22 Special restrictions on lamps
(b) No person shall drive or move any vehicle or equipment upon any highway with any lamp, reflector or other device thereon or therein displaying a red or green or blue light visible to any driver or pedestrian
(c) Flashing lights are prohibited on or within any motor vehicle, except on an authorized emergency vehicle [...]
(d) No person shall drive or move any vehicle or equipment upon any highway with any lamp or other device therein or thereon emitting a flashing or revolving light. [...]
(e) No person shall drive or move any vehicle or equipment upon any highway with any lamp, reflector or other device thereon displaying a blue light visible to any driver or pedestrian upon the highway. [...]
Honolulu Police Department’s website has a page (link) specifically about neon underglow where it’s stated that these lights are illegal to use. We consider this information inaccurate (see: 15-19.1 above allowing any additional accessories as long as they’re not in violation), so use at your own risk.
We strongly recommend double-checking with your local police department. Feel free to get in touch with us in case you get a conclusive response!
State of Hawaii Info
Hawaii is the most recent of the 50 U.S. states (joined the Union on August 21, 1959), and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean. Hawaii’s diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, (wind)surfers, biologists, and vulcanologist alike. Due to its mid-Pacific location, Hawaii has many North American and Asian influences along with its own vibrant native culture. Hawaii has over a million permanent residents along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu.
Area: 10,931 sq mi (28,311 km2)
Cities in Hawaii: Honolulu, East Honolulu, Pearl City, Hilo, Kailua, Waipahu, Kaneohe, Mililani Town, Kahalui, Ewa Gentry, Mililani Mauka, Kihei, Makakilo, Wahiawa, Schofield Barracks, Wailuku, Kapolei, Ewa Beach, Royal Kunia, Halawa, Waimalu, Waianae, Nanakuli, Kailua, Lahaina, Waipio, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Kapaa, Kalaoa, Kaneohe Station, Maili, Aiea, Waimea, Waihee-Waiehu, Ahuimanu, Holualoa, Ocean Pointe, Makaha, Haiku-Pauwela, Pukalani, Waikele, Napili-Honokowai, Makawao, Hickam Housing, Lihue, Kula
Counties in Hawaii: Hawaii, Maui, Kalawao, Honolulu, Kauai
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