REPORT TITLE:
Vehicles; Cell Phones


DESCRIPTION:
Prohibits the operator of a motor vehicle from using a cellular
phone unless the phone can be operated without the use of the
driver`s hands.  Imposes penalties.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                        2079 
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________


                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT

RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLES.
 


BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that as cellular phones
 
 2 have become a very popular and affordable commodity in today's
 
 3 society, the number of accidents caused by their use is
 
 4 increasing.  The increasing popularity of these devices while
 
 5 operating a motor vehicle creates a potentially dangerous
 
 6 situation, not only to other motorists but to pedestrians as
 
 7 well.  According to a recent study published by the New England
 
 8 Journal of Medicine, the risk of the occurrence of an accident is
 
 9 four times as likely when the driver is busy conversing with
 
10 someone on a cellular phone, and the driver's attention is more
 
11 apt to be on the discussion than on the road.  Eliminating all
 
12 but hands-free cell phone use would dramatically cut down on
 
13 these accidents.  The legislature therefore finds that it is
 
14 necessary to make it unlawful to use a cellular phone while
 
15 operating a motor vehicle in order to prevent automobile
 
16 accidents and possibly save lives.  The legislature further finds
 
17 that this Act will also discourage drivers from making
 
18 unnecessary phone calls, and increase the awareness of the
 

 
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 1 dangers of using a cellular phone while operating a motor
 
 2 vehicle.
 
 3      SECTION 2.  Chapter 291-12, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 
 4 amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated
 
 5 and to read as follows:
 
 6      "291-    Cellular phones prohibited while operating motor
 
 7 vehicles.  (a)  It shall be unlawful for any person to operate
 
 8 upon any public highway in this State a motor vehicle while the
 
 9 operator is using a cellular hand-held phone.
 
10      (b)  It shall be a defense to a violation of subsection (a)
 
11 that the operator had reason to fear for the operator's life or
 
12 safety, was reporting a traffic accident, or making a "911"
 
13 emergency call.
 
14      (c)  Nothing in this section shall interfere with the use of
 
15 a citizen's band radio or the use of speaker phones which are
 
16 voice activated and do not require the use of hands.
 
17      (d)  Violation of this section shall be considered an
 
18 offense as defined under section 701-107(5) and shall subject the
 
19 violator to the following penalties:
 
20      (1)  For a first conviction, the person shall:
 
21           (A)  Be fined not more than $100;
 
22           (B)  Be required by the court to attend a traffic
 

 
 
 
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 1                safety class conducted by the division of driver
 
 2                education; provided that:
 
 3                (i)  The class may include video conferences as
 
 4                     determined by the administrator of the
 
 5                     division of driver education as an
 
 6                     alternative method of education; and
 
 7               (ii)  The class shall not exceed four hours; and
 
 8           (C)  Pay a $50 driver education assessment as provided
 
 9                in section 286G-3;
 
10      (2)  For a conviction of a second offense, the person shall:
 
11           (A)  Be fined not more than $200;
 
12           (B)  Be required by the court to attend a traffic
 
13                safety class not to exceed four hours in length
 
14                conducted by the division of driver education if
 
15                the person has not previously attended such a
 
16                class; and
 
17           (C)  Pay a $50 driver education assessment as provided
 
18                in section 286G-3 if the person has not previously
 
19                attended a traffic safety class conducted by the
 
20                division of driver education; and
 
21      (3)  For a conviction of a third or subsequent offense, the
 
22           person shall:
 

 
 
 
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 1           (A)  Be fined not more than $500;
 
 2           (B)  Be required by the court to attend a traffic
 
 3                safety class not to exceed four hours in length
 
 4                conducted by the division of driver education if
 
 5                the person has not previously attended such a
 
 6                class; and
 
 7           (C)  Pay a $50 driver education assessment as provided
 
 8                in section 286G-3 if the person has not previously
 
 9                attended a traffic safety class conducted by the
 
10                division of driver education."
 
11      SECTION 3.  Section 291-12, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 
12 amended to read as follows:
 
13      "291-12  Inattention to driving.  [Whoever] Except as
 
14 provided in section 291-   , whoever operates any vehicle without
 
15 due care or in a manner as to cause a collision with, or injury
 
16 or damage to, as the case may be, any person, vehicle or other
 
17 property shall be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more
 
18 than thirty days, or both."
 
19      SECTION 4.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed.
 
20 New statutory material is underscored.
 
21      SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
 
22 
 
23                              INTRODUCED BY:______________________
 

 
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