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New Hawaii cellphone law raises fines for drivers

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:51 a.m. HST, Jul 01, 2014

Changes in Hawaii law for using a cellphone while driving take effect Tuesday.

Sgt. Robert Pauole of the Hawaii Police Department tells West Hawaii Today that drivers cited for using a cellphone while driving will no longer be required to make a mandatory court appearance.

He says the court system became congested with violators and the law was changed to make cellphone texting or talking an infraction.

It's not all good news for distracted drivers, however.

Pauole says the fine is increasing to $297. Previous fines under state law for a first offense were at least $100 and not more than $200.

The measure outlaws the use while driving of cellphones, text messaging devices, paging devices, personal digital assistants, laptop computers, video games and digital cameras.

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808Cindy wrote:
Make it HIGHER !!!
on July 1,2014 | 08:07AM
CriticalReader wrote:
There is an easy fix for this, the burden for which should be placed on cell phone companies and automakers. Put a mechanism in all phones that disables them when inside a running car. Make it mandatory. They can make an "app" that translates your baby's "cry" (so you know what you have to do). Why can't they install such a "safety" device? Why doesn't the government require it?
on July 1,2014 | 08:59AM
busterb wrote:
Great, so when your friend drives off Kaukonahua Rd. and are pinned in the backseat, you can't call anyone cause the engine is still running.
on July 1,2014 | 09:44AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Yup. And that one out of 10 million circumstance will be a tragedy, instead of the 1 out of 1 million times a tragic accident is caused by use of cell phone by a driver.
on July 1,2014 | 11:00AM
busterb wrote:
Hope it's you.
on July 1,2014 | 07:02PM
csdhawaii wrote:
That's not practical and will never happen. Why penalize all the law abiding people who use hands free devices? This is a good move on the part of lawmakers. And I agree, jack the fine up to make it hurt the wallet; more people will think twice about reaching for a phone while driving.
on July 1,2014 | 10:05AM
asmkristy wrote:
busterb has a point. Although, in rare circumstances, people may need to use their phone in their car in cases of emergencies. Not only that, what about passengers in cars? If cell phone companies had a shut off device, it would have to allow passengers to make cell calls....not practical at all!
on July 1,2014 | 10:44AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Why not practical? It is SOOOO bad to use a cell phone while driving that it's been made illegal. Why can't simple functions that cause disabling of a phone while inside a running car be designed and installed by cell phone companies and auto manufacturers? Can't talk on the phone while in a car? boo hoo. Pull over, ask the driver to pull over, or just don't.
on July 1,2014 | 11:03AM
PMINZ wrote:
Would that mean that all Bus riders could not use their Cel phone? Good I hate listening to them Gab. But bad foe any emergency.
on July 1,2014 | 12:52PM
dancingcat wrote:
criticalreader: funny, I did jus that...pulled over to use the phone and was told by the cop to move because I wasn't in a proper parking stall.
on July 1,2014 | 04:58PM
niimi wrote:
Then ban alcohol again; that's dangerous. Boy, eyes rolling, was that a great idea (finger making circular motion by head).
on July 1,2014 | 05:22PM
csdhawaii wrote:
There are lots of bad things people do while driving. You can't outlaw all of them or use technology to get rid of all this bad behavior. Some of the most distracted drivers are those who are having face to face conversations with their passengers. I appreciate your sentiment, but banning use of a cell phone except for hands-free use; and heavy fines for breaking this law, is the way to go.
on July 1,2014 | 06:11PM
asmkristy wrote:
criticalreader: So by your logic, if something is "SOOOO bad" the government should make it illegal? Yeah, obviously that's your opinion and I hope not the opinion of most other people. Well how about this, I think drinking to the point of getting drunk is really bad. So, should it be illegal? What about motorcyclist? I think it's SOOO bad that they don't wear helmets but it's not illegal....yet, anyway. You get my point.
on July 1,2014 | 06:58PM
ISCREAM wrote:
We have existing laws...not enforced. Do you know or have you ever heard of ANYBODY receiving a citation...to say the courts were all jam up is pure shibai...
on July 1,2014 | 08:41PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
I do. My sister-in-law and 2 different friends. But... that doesn't change the fact that I see people ALL the time on their cell phones while driving, including police officers.
on July 1,2014 | 09:32PM
niimi wrote:
Critical Reader has a novel idea, but it is completely impractical today. Such technology couldn't be reliable because it could not distinguish between being in a vehicle and not. Also, GPS signalling is near-line-of-sight, so it would be unreliable if the GPS signal is not reliable. Also, if someone was a passenger in a vehicle then a mandatory curbing of calls would present a safety issue (cannot call for help). And the singularly scariest thing about CriticalReader's lousy proposal is that he want the government to fix it. "Government this, government that." This is EXACTLY why there is eroding personal accountability in American society today; it is because we want and let the government take over everything.
on July 1,2014 | 05:20PM
asmkristy wrote:
Thank you niimi, that's what I was saying. It is not practical and will never happen.
on July 1,2014 | 06:59PM
scooters wrote:
Cell phone use while driving on Oahu is out of control. HPD needs to enforce this 24/7 with no warnings issued. But then of course patrol officers need to on the road to do this!
on July 1,2014 | 08:49AM
Chennchina wrote:
And not looking at their cell phones...
on July 1,2014 | 09:46AM
asmkristy wrote:
Exactly Chennchina! If we are enforced to follow the law then shouldn't police be held to the same enforcements? I've been ticketed for not using my turn signal but how many times have I seen on-duty police cars not doing the same? Double standard much?
on July 1,2014 | 10:45AM
PMINZ wrote:
Have you seen the elaborate Computer on the police car front seats? Wow!
on July 1,2014 | 12:53PM
asmkristy wrote:
I understand they need to some LIMITED use of technology to do their job IF it's on-duty. The problem I have is with police officers who don't follow the rules of the road but act all bullish for even a small infraction by the public.
on July 1,2014 | 07:01PM
honopic wrote:
Here's a solution: citizen participation. True, HPD can't be everywhere all the time, but those of us who see the abuse day after day could jot down the license plate number, time and date, and file a complaint. The HPD data base would get a workout, for sure, but when the same plate comes up again, a warning could be issued to the registered owner. The warning could be considered a first offense, but with no fine, since the officer didn't witness it. But when that car is pulled over for a second offense, automatic fine and points.
on July 1,2014 | 01:58PM
cojef wrote:
What about frivolous complaints? Whose to decide false allegations? Tort lawyers will appreciate your suggestion. Opening for law suits for filing false complaints. Courts will be overwhelmed.
on July 1,2014 | 02:11PM
prest1948 wrote:
What about doubling the fines for subsequent violations. After the third violation, spend a week in jail. The city employees should also set an example, why are trash collection drivers talking on the phone while operating the trucks. Trash containers are sometimes either on the street or not place upright.
on July 1,2014 | 05:21PM
csdhawaii wrote:
That is an excellent idea.
on July 1,2014 | 06:13PM
Hawaiiobserver wrote:
I'm gonna start doing this!!! When a car is driving slowly on the freeway, as you pass the car, take a glance and 9 times out of 10, it's not an old man driving..the driver is texting~!!!
on July 1,2014 | 10:52PM
CriticalReader wrote:
"The measure outlaws the use while driving of cellphones, text messaging devices, paging devices, personal digital assistants, laptop computers, video games and digital cameras." Cannot USE anymore? Cannot TALK using handsfree?
on July 1,2014 | 08:52AM
control wrote:
Long overdue...book'em danno!
on July 1,2014 | 09:00AM
bekwell wrote:
The measure outlaws the use while driving of cellphones, text messaging devices, paging devices, personal digital assistants, laptop computers, video games and digital cameras? So I can't use my GPS, or my GPS map on my kindle? How about the new cars with auto collision devices that talk to the driver. Do you have to tell your car to "shut up?" And I can't use the dash mounted digital camera in case of accidents? How about the cars with On Star. It won't be allowed to ask if you're in an accident. The law needs more definition; and yes I see people texting while weaving down the road so there must to be a law, but it needs to written by someone with technical knowledge.
on July 1,2014 | 10:07AM
retire wrote:
Don't talk, just drive, for all of our sakes.
on July 1,2014 | 10:18AM
jasryn wrote:
The long long waits in the courtroom should be only part of the penalty for breaking the law. These people think that they are above the law. Bring them back to the ground.
on July 1,2014 | 10:22AM
lowtone123 wrote:
Hopefully this will discourage drivers to use their electronic devices while driving. Everyday I still see drivers who use their electronic devices and they're not even trying to hide it.
on July 1,2014 | 10:25AM
salsacoquibx wrote:
Not much discouragement..they will still be doing the same thing..HPD can't catch everyone..and their stings are only once in a while.
on July 1,2014 | 10:50AM
BO0o07 wrote:
It should be considered a "moving" violation and points given like any moving traffic violation.
on July 1,2014 | 10:45AM
honopic wrote:
I agree. It is a moving violation, and a hazard to other vehicles and pedestrians. In some cases, it's worse than DUI, because cell-phonies think they are not impaired. Put points on their licenses, increasing with each subsequent offense, drive their insurance rates up along with the $297 fine and maybe - just maybe, some of them will put the phone down for 20 minutes or so until they get to their destination.
on July 1,2014 | 01:45PM
asmkristy wrote:
I hope that everyone who is commenting on here about using cell phones while driving have not ever talked to a passenger while driving or used only one hand while driving. What is the difference? I think it's you people who point fingers that need to get over yourselves and be realistic about this.
on July 1,2014 | 10:48AM
control wrote:
There is a difference and studies have shown it. Drivers distracted by electronic devices were as bad as people who drive under the influence. Stop pretending otherwise. Your devices are NOT that important. Put them away, pay attention before you kill someone.
on July 1,2014 | 11:04AM
PMINZ wrote:
Simple I do not Drive! Ride "The Bus"
on July 1,2014 | 12:56PM
asmkristy wrote:
I would like to see those studies. I hear people backing up their arguments with "studies" but they never provide the studies...wonder whey this is? Hmmm, I'll do a little digging on my own as well, but I can tell you from personal experience that drivers talking to passengers are dangerous and can cause accidents or potential accidents.
on July 1,2014 | 07:06PM
control wrote:
try google - plenty to find http://www.distraction.gov/ download/research-pdf/ comparison-of-cellphone-driver-drunk-driver.pdf
on July 1,2014 | 07:49PM
primowarrior wrote:
"Castle High School student Gabriella Pintor tries to navigate a course while holding a cellphone..." I hope they're stressing that it's not simply holding a cellphone in your hand while driving that's the problem. You could have a cellphone mounted on the dash with both hands on the wheel, and that's still going to cause problems if you're paying attention to the phone instead of your driving.
on July 1,2014 | 11:19AM
KWAY wrote:
The penalty should be much stiffer. Is being on the phone any differnt than being drunk? Both drivers are incapacitated,a dn are capable of killing and maiming pedestrians and other drivers.
on July 1,2014 | 11:22AM
Mahina808 wrote:
HPD needs to practice the law as well. Way too many times have I driven next to a police officer who is doing something with the computer and driving at the same time. It makes me wonder if they are doing something work related, playing a game or even watching a movie. It serves no purpose to have a law if the ones who should be monitoring the public can't even abide by the rules. Just because they are police officers it is ok? Give me a break!
on July 1,2014 | 11:25AM
Giligan wrote:
Do you think a wife of a cop ever gets a ticket? Bring back the van cams! Anyway, too many unnecessary laws, and there are a thousand worse things to do while driving, but can.
on July 2,2014 | 06:10AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Obviously the fines are not high enough to be a deterrent to bad behavior. How about executing cell phone scofflaws.
on July 1,2014 | 12:11PM
Recommended fines: 1st offense - $500, 2nd offense within 3 years - $1000 and suspension of driver's license for 6 months, and 3rd offense within 3 years - $2000 and revocation of driver's license. It's difficult enough driving these days without even being distracted by these devices.
on July 1,2014 | 12:38PM
MakaniKai wrote:
I agree SANSEIBEAR. It has got to hurt financially. The government is always looking for increases of fees, taxes or revenue enhancement (Kirky boys favorite) this is a cash cow and would make the roads safer, I would hope.
on July 1,2014 | 01:17PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
A $297 fine would hurt most people financially.
on July 1,2014 | 02:30PM
control wrote:
just one major flaw - the counties don't get a penny from the fines - all of it goes to Neil and the boyz.
on July 1,2014 | 03:38PM
cardoc wrote:
WHY NOT MAKE IT "FAIR TO ALL". Jack the fines to the pedestrians also, we are all to blame for the recent accidents between drivers and walkers but the walkers are also a problem. I see walkers texting, cell phoning and just walk into the street, cross on the don't walk, jump in the street when the don't walk has only 4 seconds and us drivers who also have rights have to just suck it up. Where are the police on King street when it comes to walkers?
on July 1,2014 | 01:35PM
salsacoquibx wrote:
Fair for all should include COPS..who break the law more than we do!
on July 2,2014 | 06:03AM
retiree99 wrote:
As someone who had my license suspended for DUI, I totally agree with everyone who states that higher penalties for electronic device usage are appropriate. The license suspension and the time spent in court / counseling really made an impression on me to the point where I do not drink and drive anymore. With this in mind, I believe that the penalties for electronic device usage should be the same as the penalties for DUI.
on July 1,2014 | 01:52PM
cojef wrote:
Glad you owned up and admitted your affliction and corrected the situation. One less drunken driver on the road.
on July 1,2014 | 02:15PM
csdhawaii wrote:
on July 1,2014 | 06:15PM
entrkn wrote:
As I drove my wife to work this morning, we passed a slower moving car in the inside lane with the driver and passenger texting away, oblivious the world and their surrounding traffic conditions...
on July 1,2014 | 02:11PM
moondog73 wrote:
I have only one word for all you bobo head drivers that insist on using their cell phones while driving, "HANDSFREEDEVICE". Besides being allowed to use, it's cheaper than paying a fine.
on July 1,2014 | 02:20PM
kuewa wrote:
Smartphone addiction is really a mental illness, to the point where people lose all common sense if they ever had any. I've taken people sightseeing around the island while they looked at the sights on their phone rather than out the window. People talking on the phone while sitting on the lua in a public restroom... noises and all (and also without washing their phone afterwards). Talking on the phone while pretending to help me in retail shops. The list goes on and on. In many ways, this is worse and more widespread than alcohol addiction.
on July 1,2014 | 02:53PM
asmkristy wrote:
I agree it has become a major issue in all facets of life, including driving, of course but a mental illness? Maybe for a very small percentage of people but not for the type of people that you gave examples on. Kinda extreme dontya think?
on July 1,2014 | 07:13PM
mcc wrote:
How about when we see the police on the phone? Do we need to take a picture or just report them to who????
on July 1,2014 | 03:52PM
asmkristy wrote:
Yes, take a picture and send it in to the newspaper and tv news stations. Also, post it to the facebook page HPD has set up. Have you seen this news story about the trucker who honked at a trooper that was talking on his cell and speeding? Check it out...http://abc30.com/news/video-trucker-turns-tables-on-speeding-trooper/148239/
on July 1,2014 | 07:11PM
salsacoquibx wrote:
They will just claim its part of their job..politics as usual
on July 2,2014 | 06:05AM
soundofreason wrote:
That's why I don't use a laptop when driving. I use a full blown Windows 2003 server.
on July 1,2014 | 06:43PM
ISCREAM wrote:
And what do the officers do...use cell phones, cameras, laptops, etc while driving...
on July 1,2014 | 08:42PM
SomebodyElse wrote:
I walked my kids home last year to make sure they understood how to be aware as a pedestrian. Just because you are on the side of the road, off of the road, does not mean you aren't a target. I witnessed people swerving into bike lanes and, guess what, heads were down looking at texts. Young drivers are the most likely to get into accidents and among the population who embraces texting and all its social consequences. It's a serious issue. I think it is worse than drunk driving because more people are doing it at all times of the day. I'd be curious to see how many accidents are labelled "distracted driving" and of those how many are cell phone related, specifically social media related. My generation talks over the phone, the new generation talks via texts. The roads are a dangerous place, protect yourself at all times.
on July 1,2014 | 09:05PM
rayhawaii wrote:
Great I thot day gonna ban me eaten ma suppaduppah burger and dupah soda.
on July 1,2014 | 09:37PM
joshislost wrote:
hmm but yet the cops that have laptops arent distracted or being fined.
on July 1,2014 | 11:21PM
atilter wrote:
better late than never! now if hpd could be more assertive in seeking offenders....instead of spending so much time meeting at the local convenience store to talk story or waiting for the next dispatch "call", on matters other than official business!? heavily tinted windows don't help either in the apprehension of offenders - which also a "fine-able" transgression.
on July 2,2014 | 12:11AM
awahana wrote:
This is not steep enough. Like food, alcohol, television, people have no willpower or restraint.
License revocation.
Then they can talk and chat all they want!
on July 2,2014 | 05:49AM
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