Transportation by Car

Renting a Car (International Students)
To drive in Hawaii, international students must have (1) a valid driver's license from their home country and (2) a valid international driver's license. Ensure that neither license will expire while living in Hawaii. The combined use of the two licenses will enable students to drive in the U.S. for one year from the first port-of-entry date into the U.S. The year-long period starts again each time upon reentering the country. Students who wish to obtain a Hawaii driver's license must give up their home country driver's license. For information on obtaining a Hawaii driver's license, visit the City and County of Honolulu, Motor Vehicle and Licensing Division.
You must be at least 25 years old, a licensed driver, and the bearer of a major credit card to rent a car in Hawaii.  You may wish to inquire with major rental companies with branches in your home countries before departure. In certain instances, it is more economical to make reservations before arriving in Honolulu.
Students without a home country driver's license and an international driver's license, and who will require the use of a rental car to obtain a Hawaii driver's license can contact Tradewinds U-Drive (Tel: 834-1465). Tradewinds U-Drive is the only company that allows non-licensed drivers to use a rental car to obtain a license. The car must contain the original registration and current insurance card. A licensed driver must rent the car and should list the student driver as an additional driver on the rental car agreement. An additional $25 rental fee is assessed.
Buying a Car
Prices to purchase a used car typically range from $200-$7,000. Refer to the classified section of the daily newspaper or Craigslist for cars for sale.
Be careful when considering the purchase of a used car.  You are encouraged to have a reliable mechanic inspect the vehicle for defects. If you decide to purchase a car, you must transfer ownership of the vehicle (requires signatures of both the new and former owner) and register the vehicle at City Hall or any Satellite City Hall. In addition, you are required by law to pass a valid safety inspection for the car.
Auto Insurance
Automobile insurance is mandatory by law in Hawaii for both rented and purchased cars. Insurance is estimated at $1,000-$2,000 per year. Additional expenses associated with cars include gasoline at up to around $4.00 per gallon, and labor for repairs at approximately $60 per hour. Any infringements or accidents incurred over the past three years will increase insurance rates. Membership in an automobile club such as AAA, however, reduces insurance rates. A few insurance companies are Allstate Insurance, Farmer's Insurance Hawaii, Island Insurance, and State Farm Insurance.
Vehicular Accidents
If you or someone else is involved in a vehicular accident, remember the following brief rules:

  • Check to see whether everyone is safe or whether anyone is hurt. If there is any injury, call 911 for the police and ambulance.
  • If an individual is injured or if property damage exceeds $300, the law requires that the police be called. Everyone must remain at the scene until the police officer arrives. It is customary to call the police even in the case of a minor accident. A police report will protect everyone in case any problems or questions arise after the accident.
  • Regardless of injury or property damage, the law requires that all involved people exchange names, addresses, driver's license numbers and vehicle license numbers. It is highly recommended that you exchange the names of your automobile insurance companies as well. If any person refuses to provide such information, get their vehicle license number from their car, and notify the police as soon as possible.
  • If there are no injuries and after noting the position of the vehicles at the time of the accident, vehicles may be moved to help the flow of traffic.
  • Call your insurance company to report the accident; also, get an accident report from the police and send it to your insurance company.


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