Hawaii Texting Laws

Hawaii Distracted Driving Law

1. No current bans for distracted driving.

Hawaii Texting Law

Hawaii's Texting While Driving Stand

Hawaii has joined the growing number of states that have enacted laws concerning distracted driving. While these laws vary between counties and cities, overall distracted driving is considered a misdemeanor if a person is caught on a cell phone while driving. The fine for this offense was raised to $147.00 as of July 1st, 2011 and Oahu reported that there were more than $1.6 million in tickets during the first two years of the distracted driving laws being in place.

Since the laws have been put in place the following number of tickets have been issued (totals were collected in June 2011):

·  Oahu County: 20,654 tickets

·  Hawaii County: 1,359 tickets

·  Kauai County: 930 tickets

·  Maui County: 964 tickets

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, “distracted drivers in Pearl City and Kalihi were the targets as Honolulu police ran a sweep on the weekend of June 24, 2011. Almost 110 citations were handed out for illegal use of cell phones while driving. Police said they would continue sweeps across the island.” Police say they’ve issued more than 20,000 citations as of June 2011 since the Oahu county law against electronic distracted driving went into effect in the summer of 2009. In 2010, police issued 10,101 tickets. In the first four months of 2011, the number was 3,757.

The Star Bulletin stated that “Bill 4 should not encourage drivers to trade in their hand-held cell phones for hands-free devices in the belief the latter is safe. The use of either kind of cell phones is distracting, causing the driver to concentrate on the conversation rather than the road. Studies have shown that use of a cell phone-hand-held or hands-free -while driving is as dangerous as driving drunk.”

Some of the resulting legislation was named Ordinance 09~6, for the city and county of Honolulu. The bill called for an ordinance relating to the use of electronic devices while operating motor vehicles, and is comprised of the following sections:

Section 1. The purpose of this ordinance is to prohibit the use of certain electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.

Section 2. Chapter 15, Article 24, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 1990, as amended (“Miscellaneous Provisions”), is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated by the reviser of ordinances and to read as follows:

“Sec. 15-24. Mobile electronic devices.
(a) No person shall operate a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device.

(b) The use of a mobile electronic device for the sole purpose of making a “911”
emergency communication shall be an affirmative defense to this ordinance.

( c) The following persons shall be exempt from the provisions of subsection (a):
(1) Emergency responders using a mobile electronic device while in the performance and scope of their official duties
(2) Drivers using two-way radios while in the performance and scope of their work-related duties.
(3) Drivers holding a valid amateur radio operator license issued by the federal communications commission and using a half-duplex two-way radio.

(d) As used in this section:
“Emergency responders” include fire fighters, emergency medical technicians, mobile intensive care technicians, civil defense workers, police officers and federal and state law enforcement officers. “Mobile electronic device” means any hand-held or other portable electronic equipment capable of providing wireless and/or data communication between two or more persons or of providing amusement, including but not limited to a cellular phone, text messaging device, paging device, personal digital assistant, laptop computer, video game, or digital photographic device, but does not include any audio equipment or any equipment installed in a motor vehicle for the purpose of providing navigation, emergency assistance to the operator of the motor vehicle or video entertainment to the passengers in the rear seats of the motor vehicle.
“Operate” a motor vehicle means the same as is defined in HRS Section 291E-1.
“Use or using” means holding a mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle.”

Section 3. New ordinance material is underscored. When revising, compiling, or printing this ordinance for inclusion in the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, the reviser of ordinances need not include the underscoring.

Ordinance No. –09- S-2A was also drafted and includes the following:

No. 09-S-2A is an ordinance amending chapter 24, Hawaii county code 1983 (2005) edition, as amended, relating to inattention to driving.

Section 1. Chapter 24, article 7, division 3, Hawaii County Code 1983 (2005 Edition, as amended), is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

Section 24-use of mobile electronic devices while operating a vehicle.
(a) As used in this section, unless the context clearly requires otherwise: “Emergency responders” include fire fighters, emergency medical service technicians, mobile intensive care technicians, civil defense workers, police officers, and federal and state law enforcement officers. “Mobile electronic device” means any hand-held or other portable electronic equipment capable of providing wireless and/or data communication between two or more persons or of providing amusement, including but not limited to a cellular phone, text messaging device, paging device, personal digital assistant, laptop computer, video game, or digital photographic device, but does not include any audio equipment or any equipment installed in a motor vehicle for the purpose of providing navigation, emergency assistance to the operator of the motor vehicle, or video entertainment to the passengers in the rear seats of the motor vehicle.“Operate a motor vehicle” means to drive or assume actual physical control of a vehicle upon a public way, street, road, or highway.“Use or using” means holding a mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle.”

(b) It shall be a violation under this section to operate a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device. unless used with a hands-free device. Any person convicted of violating this subsection shall be subject to a maximum fine of $150.

( c) Whoever operates any vehicle while using a mobile electronic device, unless used with a hands-free device, in a manner as to cause a collision with, or injury or damage to, as the case may be, any person, vehicle, or other property shall be fined no more than $500.

(d) The use of a mobile electronic device for the sale purpose of making a “911″ emergency communication shall be an affirmative defense to this ordinance.

(e) The following persons shall be exempt from the provisions of subsections:

(b) and (c):

(I) Emergency responders using a mobile electronic device while in the performance and scope of their official duties:

(2) Drivers using two-way radios while in the performance and scope of their work-related duties; and

(3) Drivers holding a valid amateur radio operator license issued by the federal communications commission and using half-duplex two-way radio.

Section 2. New material is underscored. In printing this ordinance, the underscoring need not be included.

Section 3. If any provision of this ordinance or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the ordinance which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this ordinance are severable.

Section 4. This ordinance took effect on January 1, 2010 and was named Ordinance No. 892 Bill No. 2336. This ordinance was written to amend chapter 16, article 20, Kauai county code 1987, relating to the traffic code:

Section 1. Chapter 16, Article 20, Kauai county code 1987, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

Sec. 16-20. Use of Mobile Electronic Devices While Operating a Vehicle.

(a) No person shall operate a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device.

(b) The use of a mobile electronic device for the sole purpose of making a “911″ emergency communication shall be an affirmative defense to this ordinance.

(c) The following persons shall be exempt from the provisions of subsection (a): (1) Emergency responders using a mobile electronic device while in the performance and scope of their official duties; and (2) Drivers possessing a valid amateur radio operator license issued by the Federal Communications Commission and using a half-duplex two-way radio.

(d) As used in this section: “Emergency responders” include fire fighters, emergency medical service technicians, mobile intensive care technicians, civil defense workers, police officers, and federal and state law enforcement officers. “Mobile electronic device” means any hand-held or other portable electronic equipment recognized by the citing officer or other witness to be capable of providing wireless and/or data communication between two or more persons or of providing amusement, including but not limited to a cellular phone, text messaging device, paging device, personal digital assistant, laptop computer, video game, or digital photographic device, but does not include any audio equipment or any equipment installed in a motor vehicle for the purpose of providing navigation, emergency assistance to the operator of the motor vehicle, or video entertainment to the passengers in the rear seats of the motor vehicle. A “two-way radio” or Private Land Mobile Radio System as defined by Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 90, when used for business purposes, shall not be considered to be a “mobile electronic device”. “Operate a motor vehicle” means to drive or assume actual physical control of a vehicle upon a public way, street, road, or highway. “Use or using” means holding a mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle.

(f) Any person convicted or found liable of violating any provisions of this section shall be subject to a maximum fine of $50.

(g) Any person convicted or found liable of violating any provisions of this section while operating a motor vehicle in a school zone or construction area as defined in HRS Section 291C-104 shall be subject to a maximum fine of $100.

Section 2. This ordinance shall take effect three months after its approval, Ordinance No. 3753
a bill for an ordinance amending chapter 10.52, Maui county code, pertaining to the use of mobile electronic devices while driving be it ordained by the people of the county of Maui:

Section 1. Chapter 10.52, Maui county code, is amended by adding a new section to be designated and to read as follows:

10.52.260 Mobile electronic devices.

(A). No person shall operate a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device.

(B). The use of a mobile electronic device for the sole purpose of making a “911″ emergency communication shall be an affirmative defense to this ordinance.

(C). The following persons shall be exempt from subsection A:
(1). Emergency responders using a mobile electronic device while in the performance and scope of their official duties; (2). Drivers using two-way radios while in the performance and scope of their work-related duties, and who: (a). Are operating fleet vehicles; (b). Possess a commercial driver’s license, pursuant to section 286-239, Hawaii Revised Statutes; or (c). Possess a commercial driver’s license instructional permit, pursuant to section 286-236, Hawaii Revised Statutes; and (3). Drivers holding a valid amateur radio operator license issued by the federal communications commission and using a half-duplex two-way radio.

(D). Drivers who hold an instructional permit pursuant to section 286-110, Hawaii Revised Statutes, or a provisional license pursuant to section 286-102.6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, shall be further prohibited from using any hands-free technology to assist with the use of a mobile electronic device.

(E). As used in this section: “Emergency responders” include fire fighters, emergency medical technicians, mobile intensive care technicians, civil defense workers, police officers, and federal and state law enforcement officers. “Mobile electronic device” means any hand-held or other portable electronic equipment capable of providing wireless or data communication between two or more persons or of providing amusement, including a cellular phone, text messaging device, paging device, personal digital assistance device, laptop computer, video game, or digital photographic device, but not including any audio equipment, navigation equipment, or equipment installed in a motor vehicle for the purpose of providing emergency assistance for the operator of the motor vehicle or video entertainment for passengers in the rear
seats of the vehicle. “Motor vehicle” has the same meaning as in section 291E-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes. “Operate” has the same meaning as in section 291E-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes. “Use or using” means holding a mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle.”

Section 2. New material is underscored. In printing this bill, the County Clerk need not include the underscoring.

Section 3. This ordinance shall take effect upon its approval.

Presented By:

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