According to local distracted driving facts in Hawaii, more than 17,000 traffic citations were issued during the 2017 year due to driver distractedness. In 2016, 20,000 distracted driving tickets were issued compared to the 11,000 distraction-related traffic tickets that were issued in 2015. While certain types of fines are costly offenses in Hawaii, the potentially deadly consequence of driver distractedness is far worse. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), inattentive drivers contributed to the fatalities of 3,450 individuals throughout the U.S. during the 2016 year.

While driving distractions often pertain to cell phone use, many motorists engage in other types of distractive behaviors while operating motor vehicles in the state. For instance, simple activities such as eating a sandwich or drinking coffee can have dangerous consequences if performed from behind the wheel of a vehicle. For this reason, many states enact distracted driving laws and cell phone or texting bans. To learn more about these laws, review the information below.

What is distracted driving in Hawaii?

Driving distractions in Hawaii include any type of activity that diverts a driver’s focus away from the task of operating the motor vehicle. For instance, distractions often include talking on the phone or communicating with other passengers, eating or drinking from behind the wheel of an automobile or adjusting the vehicle’s radio or GPS system. However, texting and driving is the most dangerous type of distraction. Driver distractedness may contribute to unintentional speeding, swerving or the inability to see other vehicles, animals and pedestrians.

According to local facts about distracted driving in HI, around 13.7 percent of all traffic-related fatalities were caused by driver inattentiveness in 2016. Nationally, 391,000 individuals sustained injuries due to driver inattentiveness during the 2015-year. However, motorists can prevent devastating consequences such as these by putting their wireless devices down and keeping their eyes, hands and mind on the task of driving.

Distracted Driving Laws in Hawaii for Handheld Devices

Under the Hawaii distracted driving law, motorists cannot use any type of handheld mobile device while sitting behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. For instance, the use of any handheld device such as a smartphone, personal digital assistant, mp3 player or GPS system is illegal whenever drivers are operating a motor vehicle. This law also applies to drivers who are stopped at traffic signals or stop signs. Once an automobile is parked in a safe location and the vehicle’s engine is turned off, motorists may use their mobile device in any way.

However, as an exception to these laws against distracted driving, motorists may use hands-free devices for the purpose of voice communication. This means that talking on the phone while driving is permitted provided drivers are using Bluetooth or another hands-free option. Additionally, emergency responders, motorists with an amateur radio operator’s license and users of two-way radios are exempt from these laws. Handheld cell phone use while driving is also permitted in the event of an emergency, especially if drivers need to dial 911.

Texting and Driving Laws in Hawaii

The act of texting while driving in Hawaii is illegal, regardless of whether a vehicle is stopped at a red light or stop sign. Motorists may only read, write and send texts, emails or instant messages once their vehicle is stopped, turned off and parked in a safe location.

Hawaii Laws on Distracted Driving for Novice Drivers

The texting while driving laws in HI pertain to drivers of all ages and experience levels. Under this no texting and driving law, no driver may legally read or write text-based messages while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. While adult motorists may use a hands-free device if they wish to make phone calls while operating a motor vehicle, drivers who are younger than 18 years of age are prohibited from doing so. If drivers are younger than 18 years of age, then they are prohibited from using handheld or hands-free devices unless they need to dial 911.

Hawaii Distracted Driving Regulations for CDL Holders

The same types of distracted driving laws in HI pertain to operators of commercial vehicles and school buses. Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial drivers are prohibited from using handheld electronic devices to talk on the phone, unless they use a handsfree device to do so.

Distracted Driving Penalties in Hawaii

Most distracted driving consequences in HI include costly fines of between $250 and $300. For instance, if motorists violate the state’s law, then they will need to pay a $250 fine. However, if the violation occurs in a school or construction zone, then the fine increases to $300. Novice drivers who violate this law will need to pay a fine of $257.

The distracted driving penalty for commercial drivers is more severe. If commercial drivers violate this law, then they may need to pay a fine of up to $2,750 and they may lose their privileges to operate a commercial vehicle for a designated amount of time.

Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving in Hawaii

Motorists can prevent distracted driving accidents in HI by reducing any visual, cognitive or manual distractions that may divert their attention away from the road ahead. For instance, motorists may reduce driving distractions by:

  • Limiting their cell phone use to emergency situations only.
  • Turning their electronic devices on silent before starting their vehicle’s engine.
  • Hiding their phone in a safe, hard-to-reach location.
  • Downloading a phone- or text-blocking application such as Lifesaver or AT&T DriveMode.
  • Purchasing a dashboard mount if they wish to use their phone for navigation purposes.
  • Restricting the number of travelers in a vehicle at one time.

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