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Distracted driving is a bad idea in the Aloha State

Everywhere you look in Hawaii has a postcard-worthy view. While it may be tempting to pull out your smartphone to snap and text a photo while driving through the mountains or by the ocean, doing so could result in significant legal consequences. Put simply, distracted driving is a bad idea in the Aloha State. 

Currently, 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands have a distracted driving law that bans texting and driving. Hawaii is part of that group. Hawaii’s distracted driving law, though, encompasses more than just text messages. Before you hit the road to explore everything the state has to offer, you must understand Hawaii’s distracted driving rules. 

Mobile electronic devices 

Hawaii law prohibits drivers from using handheld mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle. The ban is comprehensive. That is, you may not use a smartphone, personal data assistant, laptop computer, mp3 player, handheld GPS system or other mobile electronic devices when you are driving. Reaching for your phone at a red light does not work either. In fact, Hawaii’s distracted driving law prohibits you from sending a text message from a handheld device when you stop at a traffic signal, stop sign or traffic jam. 


If an officer stops your vehicle because he or she suspects you of violating Hawaii’s distracted driving law, you are susceptible to a costly fine. That is, the fine for violating the law starts at $297. The fine may be significantly higher if you violate the law in a construction or school zone. Even worse, repeated violations may increase your driving costs. For example, you may have to pay substantially more for SR22 insurance to comply with a judge’s order. 

Because it is dangerous, distracted driving is illegal in Hawaii. Rather than risking a costly fine and other legal consequences, you must understand Hawaii’s distracted driving rules. You must also commit never to using handheld electronic devices when you are exploring the island behind the wheel of your vehicle.

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Rustam A. Barbee, Attorney at Law
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Phone: (808) 524-4406
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