Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    H.B. No. 980

       H.D. 2

       S.D. 2




Honorable Donna Mercado Kim

President of the Senate

Twenty-Seventh State Legislature

Regular Session of 2013

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Ways and Means, to which was referred H.B. No. 980, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to improve highway safety for drivers and pedestrians.


     More specifically, this measure prohibits the use of cellular phones and other mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle, with certain exceptions, including use:


     (1)  To make 911 communications;


     (2)  Of a hands-free mobile electronic device by a person over 18 years of age; and


     (3)  By emergency responders, commercial fleet vehicle drivers, and licensed amateur radio operators using half-duplex two-way radios.


The prohibition established by this measure would also supersede similar county ordinances.


     This measure also establishes fines for violations, including doubled fines for violators in school zones and construction areas, while providing that violators shall not be deemed traffic infractors under section 291D-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes.


     Your Committee received written comments in support of this measure from AAA Hawaii; the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America; and three concerned individuals.


     Your Committee received written comments in opposition to this measure from one concerned individual.


     Your Committee received written comments on this measure from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.


     Your Committee finds that drivers distracted by the use of a cellular phone or other mobile electronic device is a rampant problem across the country, including in Hawaii.  Drivers distracted by use of these electronic devices pose a risk of harm to the driver and others in the vehicle or on the road.  In 2008, approximately sixteen per cent of all fatal crashes involved a distracted or inattentive driver.  This measure would greatly increase safety on public highways by prohibiting the use of these distracting items.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by making technical nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of style, clarity, and consistency.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Ways and Means that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 980, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 980, H.D. 2, S.D. 2.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Ways and Means,