STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2048
RE: S.B. No. 2755
Honorable Colleen Hanabusa
President of the Senate
Twenty-Fifth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2010
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Transportation, International and Intergovernmental Affairs, to which was referred S.B. No. 2755 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO HIGHWAY SAFETY,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to prohibit the use of cellular phones and other mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle, with certain exceptions, and to specifically prohibit activities such as texting, instant messaging, gaming, and emailing, and other activities that take the driver's eyes off the road, mind off the road, and hands off of the wheel.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Transportation; Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney; Honolulu Police Department; Hawaii Transportation Association; Signature Cab Holdings, Inc., dba TheCAB; and eleven individuals. Written testimony presented to the Committee may be reviewed on the Legislature's website.
Your Committee finds that the task of driving requires the driver's full attention in focusing on the roadway and driving maneuvers. Any distraction that diverts the driver's attention from the primary tasks of maneuvering the vehicle and responding to critical events increases the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that in 2008, nearly six thousand people died and more than 500,000 people were injured in crashes that involved a distracted or inattentive driver. The number of fatal crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver represented sixteen per cent of all fatal crashes for that year. Federal researchers have found that more people are using a variety of hand-held devices while driving, such as cellular phones, iPods, video games, Blackberrys, and GPS systems. In particular, the use of cellular phones for talking and texting is more prevalent on the nation's highways.
Legislation pending in Congress would require states to enact a law prohibiting the operator of a moving motor vehicle from writing, sending, or reading a text message or using a hand-held mobile telephone, and would require graduated penalties. Failure of any state to enact such a law would require that the Secretary of Transportation withhold twenty-five per cent of the state's highway construction funds each year until a law is passed. Your Committee finds that prudence dictates that Hawaii enact such a measure as soon as possible to avoid diminution of federal highway funding to the State.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Deleting the provision referring to the violation as not constituting a traffic infraction, on the recommendation of law enforcement;
(2) Clarifying the exemption pertaining to use of two-way radios on certain trucks operated by businesses; and
(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Transportation, International and Intergovernmental Affairs that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2755, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2755, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Transportation, International and Intergovernmental Affairs,
J. KALANI ENGLISH, Chair