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National group praises Hawaii cellphone driving law

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 3:49 p.m. HST, May 21, 2013

A national nonprofit is cheering Hawaii’s new law that prohibits people from holding cellphones and other portable electronics while driving.

Jonathan Adkins from the Governors Highway Safety Association in Washington said Hawaii is the 11th state to ban hand-held phone use for drivers.

Adkins said Hawaii’s new law is tougher than laws in most other states.

The group said the law also puts Hawaii among 40 states that bans texting. The law’s language defines use of a phone as holding it.   

The law has exceptions for emergency calls.

State Sen. Kalani English said Hawaii’s counties already regulate distracted driving. He said the bill protects access to federal grant money.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the law Monday along with a bill requiring passengers to wear seatbelts in backseats of cars.

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