For Business Users

Driving a Subaru Telescope Vehicle

Updated on February 7, 2020

Driving a vehicle is an integral part of essential activities of Subaru Telescope such as transportation between the base facility and the summit facility. And driving is a potential hazard risk. A driver of Subaru Telescope vehicles must be either a staff member of Subaru Telescope or a person whom the Director authorizes to drive a vehicle to perform tasks for Subaru Telescope. Below is the outline and refer to Vehicle Policy for the details.

Attention! open-use observers and contractors

Generally open-use observers don't need to drive Subaru Telescope's vehicle as the observatory provides them with the transportation among the Hilo Base facility, Hale Pohaku and the Summit facility. Subaru Telescope does not accept a driver application for attending observation only.

If a contractor needs to go to Hale Pohaku and the summit facility to perform the appointed jobs, the contractor must arrange transportation by itself, or an observatory staff will transport him/her to Hale Pohaku or to the summit facility upon request from the contractor. Subaru Telescope does not accept a driver application from a contractor unless Subaru Telescope's vehicle use by the contractor is explicitly described in the contract.

A new driver applicant or a person who has passed two years from the last designation as a driver needs the following process

Qualifications of drivers
  • The driver must be a staff member of the observatory or a person whom the director authorizes to drive vehicles to perform tasks for the observatory.
  • The driver must be in a good health condition.
  • The driver must be 21 years or older.
  • The driver must have a driver license including licenses of outside Hawaii (other U.S. states or countries) at least for the past three months and must have driven a vehicle regularly at least for the past three months.
  • The driver must be free from two or more moving violations in the past six (6) months. Also the driver must be free from three or more moving violations in the past year.
  • The driver must not have the driver license revoked, restricted or suspended for DUI for the past three (3) years.
  • An insurance company must cover the driver without observatory’s paying extra premium or without any restriction.
  • The driver must pass the examination conducted by the observatory and complete the safety driving training newly or have completed the training for the past two (2) years.
  • The driver must agree at abiding by this policy and regulations and laws of the governments and sign the paper.
  • Submit the driver application form, a valid driver's license and document that proves your history of traffic violations to General Affairs unit.
    • Download and complete Driver application form in PDF. Depending on how you drive a vehicle, select either "Drive on paved roads only" or "Drive on all roads". If your job does not require you to drive to the summit facility, select "Drive on paved roads only." Contact one of Subaru Telescope staff residing in Hawaii as your supervisor, get his/her consent and fill the name as your supervisor. Explain why you need to drive observatory vehicles.
    • Submit a valid driver's license as of application. If you apply with an overseas driver's license, submit the valid international driving permit along with the driver's license. When you apply from the remote location, a photocopy of documents are accepted for application, but, you must show the original documents to the General Affair unit personnel when you arrive at Subaru Telescope.
    • Submit driver's abstract or traffic record proving no violation at the place where you have driven most often for the past six months. The applicant who has driven in Japan most often must submit a "Driving Record Certificate" for the past one year. For more information on this certificate, refer to
      Japan Safe Driving Center
  • Subaru Telescope will notify the insurance company of you as an insured person. If the insurance company denies to have you insured, or if the insurance company insures you with higher premium, Subaru Telescope will reject your application to be a driver.
  • If you never have had Hawaii Driver License, you must acquire Hawaii Driver's License or you must pass a written examination conducted by Subaru Telescope. The examination simulates the written examination for Hawaii driver's license. You can download the Hawaii Driver's Manual with sample questions from

    State of Hawaii, Motor Vehicle Safety Office

  • You will take a driving skill examination.
  • If you pass the driving skill examination, the Director will decide if you are authorized to drive Subaru Telescope vehicles.
  • If you are authorized, You will take a safety driver training.
  • This complete the process. You can now drive Subaru Telescope's vehicles.

Renewal of the driving privilege

Complete Safe Driving Training within two years of the last designation as a driver.
  • If you are a Subaru Telescope employee, ignore the following requirements and skip to the next item. A Subaru Telescope employee is an NAOJ Subaru Telescope employee including Honmu and Heinin, or an RCUH/ALTRES employee working for the Subaru Telescope project. Your driving privilege may be renewed if the Subaru Telescope Director deems it necessary. Download Driver application form in PDF. Fill up the form. Enter the name of a Subaru Telescope employee who resides in Hawaii and will oversee, supervise, or assist your work or will work with you at Subaru Telescope. Get a permission from the person before you enter the name. Enter your driver license information and justification. Select either "Up to Hale Pohaku and paved road on the Big Island" or "All roads on the Big Island including Mauna Kea Access Road above Hale Pohaku" according to the type of the driving skill examination you took. If you know the date(s) you need to use Subaru Telescope's vehicle, write down the date(s) in Note. Submit the completed form to the General Affairs Unit of Subaru Telescope along with a copy of your current driver's license and your latest traffic abstract.
  • Download Safe Driving Training Material
  • Read the material, print the last page, fill in your name, signature and date, and send the form to the General Affairs Unit of Subaru Telescope.
  • Upon completion of all processes, your driving privilege will be valid for another two years.

Contact us

If you have any question, Subaru Telescope employees should contact your supervisor. Others should contact "your supervisor" you filled in in the application form. Send your application and documents to the General Affairs Unit of Subaru Telescope directly or via your supervisor. Contact the General Affairs Unit of Subaru Telescope for processing of your application.

Contact Vehicle Manager for general inquiry regarding driving Subaru Telescope vehicles.

General Affairs unit, email: shomu (at), Phone: (808)934-7788, Fax: (808)934-5984
Vehicle Manager: Koichi Okamoto, email: kokamoto (at), Phone: (808)934-5933
Vehicle Operation Manager: Tae-Soo Pyo, Eiji Kambe
Driving Skill Examiner: James Ferreira, Hiroyuki Iwashita

* Replace (at) in the email addresses with @.

Vehicle Policy



The contents of this page, all pages, forms and documents in the Safety section may be modified without notice. Readers are encouraged to visit pages of their interest occasionally to keep themselves updated.

Created on November 26, 2014
Updated on February 18, 2015
Updated on April 28, 2015
Updated on July 14, 2015
Updated on July 16, 2015
Updated on March 28, 2017
Updated on August 17, 2017
Updated on August 22, 2017
Updated on September 22, 2017
Updated on Februrary 14, 2018
Updated on July 10, 2018
Updated on August 29, 2018
Updated on December 9, 2019
Updated on June 1, 2020