Report Title:

Cellular phones; prohibit texting, gaming, non-hands free use



Prohibits the use of mobile telephones without hands free accessories while operating a motor vehicle. Prohibits the use of electronic wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle. Prohibits text messaging, gaming, and e-mailing while operating a motor vehicle. Sets forth exemptions.



H.B. NO.














RELATING TO traffic safety.





SECTION 1. The legislature finds that cellular phone use while driving impairs a driver's ability to react to driving situations as much as consuming alcohol. Part of this impairment is due to the need to look at the cellular phone while dialing out a number.

The legislature also finds that drivers have also taken to using their cellular phones and other electronic wireless communications devices, such as Blackberrys, to engage in other activities while driving, such as text messaging, corresponding by e-mail, or playing video games. These activities, although harmless while sitting at a desk or in the comfort of one's own home, represent a potentially fatal risk to other drivers and pedestrians as exemplified by a recent train wreck on the mainland caused by inattention due to texting while driving.

The purpose of this Act is to prohibit the use of cellular phones and electronic wireless communications devices while operating a vehicle, with certain exceptions, and to specifically prohibit activities such as texting, instant messaging, gaming, and e-mailing, activities that take the eyes off the road and the hands off of the steering wheel, while operating a motor vehicle.

SECTION 2. Chapter 291C, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"291C-A Mobile telephone use and electronic wireless communications device use; prohibited. (a) No person shall use a mobile telephone while operating a moving motor vehicle in the State unless the mobile telephone is equipped with a hands-free accessory.

(b) No person shall use a mobile telephone, including those with hands-free accessories, while operating a moving school bus that is carrying passengers.

(c) No person shall use an electronic wireless communications device, other than a voice-activated global positioning or navigation system, while operating a motor vehicle in the State.

(d) The provisions of this section shall not apply to the following:

(1) Emergency use of a mobile telephone or electronic wireless communications device, including calls to 911, a hospital, an ambulance service provider, a fire department, or a law enforcement agency;

(2) Use of a mobile telephone or electronic wireless communications device by law enforcement or emergency personnel or by a driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, acting within the scope of official duties; or

(3) Initiating or terminating a telephone call, or turning the telephone or electronic wireless communications device on or off.

(e) Violation of this section shall be a violation, and courts shall impose a fine of not more than $100 for each violation.

For purposes of this section:

"Electronic wireless communications device" means any device that provides to users the ability to send or receive electronic communications, but excluding a voice-activated global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to the vehicle.

"Hands-free accessory" means an attachment, add-on, built-in feature, or addition to a mobile telephone, whether or not permanently installed in a motor vehicle, that when used, allows the vehicle operator to maintain both hands on the steering wheel.

"Mobile telephone" means a cellular, analog, wireless, or digital telephone capable of sending or receiving telephone messages without an access line for service.

"Use" means talking, placing, or receiving a call, or attempting to place or receive a call, or sending, reading, or writing a text message, instant message, or electronic mail, or playing a video game on an electronic wireless communication device or a mobile telephone.

"Video game" means any game that may be played by use of a mobile telephone or electronic wireless communications device." SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.