§707-705 Negligent injury in the first degree. (1) A person commits the offense of negligent injury in the first degree if that person causes:
(a) Serious bodily injury to another person by the operation of a vehicle in a negligent manner; or
(b) Substantial bodily injury to a vulnerable user by the operation of a [vehicle] in a negligent manner.
(2) Negligent injury in the first degree is a class C felony. [L 1988, c 292, pt of §1; am L 2012, c 21, §2 and c 316, §4]
COMMENTARY ON §707-705
Act 292, Session Laws 1988, added this section which defines negligent injury in the first degree. The legislature felt that stronger measures were needed to protect the public and to deter those who negligently operate a motor vehicle, which results in bodily injury or death to others. Senate Conference Committee Report No. 278, House Conference Committee Report No. 105-88.
Act 21, Session Laws 2012, amended this section by modifying the scope of offenses relating to negligent injury to broaden the offenses' application to include injuries caused by more types of vehicles to increase public safety. The legislature found that a person was guilty of a negligent injury offense if that person caused serious or substantial bodily injury to another person while operating a motor vehicle. Act 21 would allow this negligent injury offense to also include the negligent operation of a moped or vessel and made operators of more types of vehicles more accountable for their actions when those actions involve the safety of others. Senate Standing Committee Report No. 2449, House Standing Committee Report No. 1101-12.
Act 316, Session Laws 2012, amended this section to include a provision for incidents involving a vulnerable highway user. Hawaii's roadways have often been called dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists, and others who legally use the public right of way without being in a vehicle. Unfortunately, when collisions occur between vehicles and these individuals, the outcome is often catastrophic. Amending the offense of negligent injury in the first degree to include a provision for incidents in which vulnerable highway users are involved may, at the very least, increase driver awareness of these individuals. Conference Committee Report No. 33-12.