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Governor signs statewide ban on drivers' use of hand-held mobile devices

By Amy Busek

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:53 p.m. HST, May 20, 2013


Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law today a bill to ban drivers from using handheld cell phones and other electronic devices while driving.

"While all counties have some form of a distracted driving ordinance in place, this measure establishes a state law that creates consistent requirements across all counties for the use of mobile electronic devices while driving and will simplify enforcement," Abercrombie said in a news release. 

A second bill, Senate Bill 4, extends the seat-belt usage requirement to back seat passengers.

The ceremony at the state Capitol marked the start of the statewide Click It or Ticket campaign, a Senate news release said.

House Bill 980 establishes a state law on the use of electronic devices while driving. It takes the place of similar county bans. People may still use hands-free devices, except drivers under 18.

The bill was created to foster a safer driving environment in the islands, said Sen. J. Kalani English, chairman of the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs.

Exceptions include 911 calls and calls by emergency responders.

“Hawaii is putting safety first on our roadways with the enactment of our state’s universal seat belt law; this measure closes the gap in protecting all passengers riding in a motor vehicle,” Abercrombie said. “In addition, the enactment of Hawaii’s distracted driving law establishes consistency across the state for the usage of mobile electronic devices while driving, simplifying enforcement and likewise making our highways and roadways safer.”

“By providing consistent statewide requirements for the use of mobile electronic devices while driving, we are telling drivers that using a mobile device while driving is dangerous and unacceptable,” English said.

Representatives of the Honolulu Police Department, the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration, the Health Department and the Transportation Department adressed the press conference regarding the significance and importance of the two bills. Region 9 administrator David Manning from the U.S. Department of Transportation cited Hawaii’s high seat belt usage statistics, while police Capt. Darrin Izumo said more than 8,000 seat belt citations were given in 2012, showing a need for increased seat belt usage in the state.

———

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said the ban on hands-free devices would apply to all drivers; it applies to drivers under 18.






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Do_you_know_SHATA wrote:
Let's see if our own law makers and Governor even follows this bill if approved.
on May 20,2013 | 02:21PM
Anonymous wrote:
ironic that the police who are enforcing the seatbelt law - do not use them as they pose a danger while they operate a vehicle. Ironic that the police who are enforcing the use of cellphones are exempt from the law...Do as I say not as I do - poor example... occupants of truck beds are not required to wear seatbelts - motorcycle / bicycle / scooter riders are not required to wear helmets - more people die or are injured riding in the back of atruck or on a motorcycle than occupants riding in the back seat of a vehicle...
on May 20,2013 | 05:09PM
localguy wrote:
Anonymous - Wrong again. Police do use seat belts. They pose no danger while they operate a vehicle, actually helping them maintain control during chases or sharp maneuvering. Seat belt law applies to everyone in a vehicle seat, no police exceptions. As for people in truck beds, you are wrong again. Police are Law Enforcement, can't enforce anything not against the law. Credit our totally dysfunctional bureaucrats for failing us on this. They just don't get it, think truck beds are a very safe place to ride. Clueless bureaucrats.
on May 20,2013 | 05:40PM
1local wrote:
police are not required to wear seatbelts and are not part of the cellphone ban and are allowed to use their lap top while driving. Abercrombie and Clayton Hee should have focused their big brother laws on helmets for all cyclists and banning riding in open truck beds...
on May 20,2013 | 09:11PM
psherman wrote:
Next thing it will be illegal to talk to any passengers in the car.
on May 20,2013 | 02:23PM
Usagi336 wrote:
Should have a law banning passengers from talking to drivers. Well for back seat driving wives like mine anyway.
on May 20,2013 | 08:15PM
MichaelG wrote:
I fail to understand how our creative lawmakers decide that seat belts are required in the rear of cars but it is perfectly legal to sit in the bed of an open pick-up truck without any form of restraint.
on May 20,2013 | 02:24PM
NiteMarcher wrote:
My thoughts are certainly in line with what you are thinking.
on May 20,2013 | 02:34PM
kahu808 wrote:
Perhaps you can talk to your legislator about the inconsistency.
on May 20,2013 | 02:58PM
grantos wrote:
it's seems to be much easier to complain here
on May 20,2013 | 03:24PM
IAmSane wrote:
Easier, but pointless.
on May 20,2013 | 05:48PM
mcc wrote:
The law should be "All passengers must wear seat belts no matter where they are sitting".
on May 20,2013 | 04:45PM
localguy wrote:
The answer is easier, bureaucrats are only interested in what is in it for them to advance their political career. They have no concern for anything else. If you have Netflix and watched "House of Cards" you understand what drives the majority of our bureaucrats, the me syndrome.
on May 20,2013 | 04:50PM
localguy wrote:
If you watch the Netflix series, House of Cards, you understand what is priority one for the majority of our bureaucrats. Taking care of #1. If a bill will not help their political career, make them more money, increase their image, they are not interested in it. How else can you explain their willful failure?
on May 20,2013 | 05:42PM
DaMenace168 wrote:
What about vehicles that are equipped with hands-free speaker? Does that mean a driver can't respond IF a passenger's cellphone is on speaker mode because it's a distraction? OK, Abercrombie will have to pass a bill to not allow having passengers while driving!!! If you listening to the radio, that will be a distraction too! OK, time to eliminate ALL radios from cars! To save cost and lives, ALL cars shall be built for only *1* passenger only - the driver!!! I think it's time we get new leadership that has some common sense...
on May 20,2013 | 02:28PM
CriticalReader wrote:
"Hawaii drivers no longer may use hands-free electronic devices while driving, under one of two traffic-safety bills signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie today. The law took effect today." That statement in the article is wrong. The way HB 980 is written, you can still use a hands free device.
on May 20,2013 | 02:35PM
kahu808 wrote:
Only if you're under 18.
on May 20,2013 | 02:59PM
localguy wrote:
Negative. Read the bill, Bluetooth is never mentioned. Star Advertiser cub reporters failed to do their job again. http://openstates.org/hi/bills/2013%20Regular%20Session/HB980/documents/HID00052230/
on May 20,2013 | 04:52PM
localguy wrote:
Soooo funny. Dysfunctional Star Advertiser Cub Reporters finally realized their failure, incorrectly saying blue tooth devices could not be used in their article title. Very quietly they corrected their failure, realizing all the comments were slamming them for not doing their job to correctly report the news. Wonder who the nameless editor is who failed to correctly review the Cub Reporters work? Not unexpected from a little 5th world wannabee paper. hahahahahha
on May 20,2013 | 05:43PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Original headline and article said the law banned use of bluetoooths. It doesn't. Nor speakerphones, nor the built in hands free stuff.
on May 20,2013 | 02:40PM
CriticalReader wrote:
I don't think so;.
on May 20,2013 | 02:29PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Okay now we need a cell phone law by the City.........they did......when.......really ....... then how come everyone uses the cell phone while driving on Oahu.....
on May 20,2013 | 02:42PM
volcanohereicome wrote:
Even on the Big Island, people are always on their cells while driving. At least we saw the cops on Kauai standing on the street corners pulling cars over if seat belts were not on or if they saw people on their cell phones.
on May 20,2013 | 09:26PM
rooftopgarden wrote:
This is such a joke. I drive around all day and see people holding their cell phones and talking. What makes the Gov think that people will not use a BT device? There is no way to enforce this law.
on May 20,2013 | 02:55PM
kahu808 wrote:
8,000 citations issued and you say there's no way to enforce this law?
on May 20,2013 | 03:00PM
SueH wrote:
Enforcement is often more trouble than it's worth, causing traffic congestion and distractions to passing motorists when another is pulled over just for cell phone use. So....enforcement becomes SELECTIVE: either when motorists are being pulled over for other traffic offenses, or to "send a message" during focused enforcement events at randomly established checkpoints. No law will "catch" ALL offenders, just as many people still run red lights even though there's a law against it.
on May 20,2013 | 03:14PM
CriticalReader wrote:
8,000 citations for SEAT BELT violations . . . according to what's in the article.
on May 20,2013 | 03:21PM
pinkplumeria wrote:
Dear Amy Busek, Know the law going into effect before you post things that will outrage people. When you said "No More Hands-Free Bluetooth" that just sounded ridiculou....
on May 20,2013 | 03:00PM
MANDA wrote:
That's a lot of taxpayer salaries to attend a press conference.
on May 20,2013 | 03:03PM
kapoleidude1 wrote:
I wish the news people would get this right...and stop confusing people. On the local news sites, they report that law that was currently in place for Oahu would be statewide now. How this article reads is that all hand-free devices would be outlawed....what is the correct law??!!! If this article is wrong, then the person who posted this, should get a clue and report correct and proper information. WHat kind of people do you have writng for this newspaper??
on May 20,2013 | 03:04PM
Traderjoe wrote:
Another law to slow down business in Hawaii, and I can be stuck in daylight road construction but I can't call and tell someone I am gonna be late. Why? Make easy to write tickets?
on May 20,2013 | 03:09PM
CriticalReader wrote:
This law is messed up. It says if under 18, can listen to music from an ipod, but not from an iphone.
on May 20,2013 | 03:15PM
localguy wrote:
Negative. Read the bill, Bluetooth is never mentioned. Star Advertiser cub reporters failed to do their job again. http://openstates.org/hi/bills/2013%20Regular%20Session/HB980/documents/HID00052230/
on May 20,2013 | 04:52PM
Snator wrote:
Our Legislators now making everyone buckle up in the back seats, but riding in the back of trucks....no problem!
on May 20,2013 | 03:17PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
The people talking on phones in the cars are actually all discussing how hard it would be to enforce no smoking at the beaches.
on May 20,2013 | 03:30PM
CriticalReader wrote:
That's easy. Deputize all the dogs.
on May 20,2013 | 03:38PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Deputy Dog?
on May 20,2013 | 05:24PM
kauai wrote:
The politicians still don't get it. The issue of cell phone use is the attention paid to the conversation and diverted from concentration on the driving of the vehicle. Study after study has concluded that it's the diversion of the attention to task at hand (driving) towards a conversation on a cell phone call that creates the problem. You can have your hands on the wheel, but if your brain is focused elsewhere from the driving experience, then BOOM, accident. The human brain cannot multi-task. It can only switch between single tasks, and not rapidly enough when piloting a 3-4 thousand pound chunk of metal at 50 mph.
on May 20,2013 | 03:39PM
CriticalReader wrote:
EXACTLY!!! Which is why mothers-in-law of drivers should also be banned from speaking.
on May 20,2013 | 04:02PM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Plus-One for the Reader. Nice.
on May 20,2013 | 04:09PM
localguy wrote:
Once again the Nei is the laughing stock of the USA thanks to the work of dysfunctional bureaucrats on House Bill 980. If you really read it, the bill was created so the Nei could say it has a distracted driving law on the books and can qualify for more federal, I mean PORK funds. The term "Blue Tooth" is never mentioned in the bill. Once again Star Advertiser Cub Reporters failed to do their job, posting an incorrect headline. Also, if you read the way the bill describes "Distracted Driving" doing anything that takes either your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road qualifies. So don't touch any radio/climate controls, do not look around at your children in the car, drink or eat anything. What baboozes we have in public office, nothing new there. Just another day in the clueless Nei.
on May 20,2013 | 04:47PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Did you see Abs on the evening tv news? Asked how come guys can still ride in the back of the pick up, he couldn't even answer and said wait for next legislative session. Crawling, screaming little hypocrite.
on May 20,2013 | 05:26PM
localguy wrote:
Soooo funny. Dysfunctional Star Advertiser Cub Reporters finally realized their failure, incorrectly saying blue tooth devices could not be used in their article title. Very quietly they corrected their failure, realizing all the comments were slamming them for not doing their job to correctly report the news. Wonder who the nameless editor is who failed to correctly review the Cub Reporters work? Not unexpected from a little 5th world rag. hahahahahha
on May 20,2013 | 05:20PM
localguy wrote:
Soooo funny. Dysfunctional Star Advertiser Cub Reporters finally realized their failure, incorrectly saying blue tooth devices could not be used in their article title. Very quietly they corrected their failure, realizing all the comments were slamming them for not doing their job to correctly report the news. Wonder who the nameless editor is who failed to correctly review the Cub Reporters work? Not unexpected from a little 5th world wannabee paper. hahahahahha
on May 20,2013 | 05:20PM
IAmSane wrote:
Okay, we get it already. Shut up.
on May 20,2013 | 05:54PM
localguy wrote:
AmSane - Typical rookie poster, nothing good to post. Ho humm......
on May 20,2013 | 06:46PM
awahana wrote:
Its still gonna happen. We need self driving cars. The sooner, the better, Google.
on May 20,2013 | 08:06PM
entrkn wrote:
I feel safer already...
on May 20,2013 | 08:09PM
BigErn wrote:
Great! Now let's work on enforcing the use of turn signals. The problem is so widespread I wonder if it's even taught anymore.
on May 20,2013 | 08:48PM
harley1 wrote:
so many new cars come delivered nowadays with non-functional turn signals, it is ridiculous, or is it just the so-called drivers that are non-functional. WRT to the rear seat seatbelt farce of law, saw a dude today sprawled out across the top of 2 king box springs with the mattress on top of them in the bed of a pick-em-up truck going down the road at 60. Nothing was securing the mattresses in the truck bed but the sheer bulk of the lolo on top of them. And he was perched above the bed rails as the whole pile of 3 mattresses was that tall.
on May 20,2013 | 09:07PM
goodvibrations wrote:
I thought there was a cell phone ban law while driving already. And yes, didn't the orignianl headlines say even bluetooth devices? So that makes the bluetooth built in the cars now illegal? And what about the people in the back of trucks? Everyone inside the car or truck has to be seatbelted, but not in the back of a pickup? Talk about confusing the public....
on May 21,2013 | 02:26PM
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