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Distracted drivers and pedestrians face penalties in Hawaii

The majority of states now have laws banning texting while operating a motor vehicle. Manually entering data into a mobile device, or reading a text message or other written information, distracts people from safety on the road. That distraction creates additional risk for crashes, as it increases reaction times and often results in drivers missing critical visual information near their vehicles.

The hope behind the laws banning texting at the wheel is that people will focus on the roads and the rate of distraction-related crashes will decrease. Hawaii has taken a firm stance against distraction, banning not only cellphone use behind the wheel but also while walking across the road. Anyone charged with a cellphone use offense in Hawaii will end up paying fines.

Texting or dialing a phone is illegal while driving on Hawaiian roads

Distracted driving has become one of the most constant and serious safety hazards on modern roads. After all, people operating machines that weigh thousands of pounds while not looking at where they are going is a recipe for disaster.

Anyone caught texting or dialing a phone while driving in Hawaii will likely face fines of up to $250 for a first offense. The law also bans the use of other handheld devices while driving. There are other factors that could increase the penalties, including if a distracted driver gets caught in a school zone, where that fine increases to $300.

Law enforcement will gladly issue citations for those they witness handling a cellphone while in control of a vehicle. Unless the person who receives that citation challenges it in court, they will end up paying a fine.

Honolulu penalizes distracted pedestrians as well

The Honolulu approach to distraction varies somewhat from most of the continental United States. In addition to penalizing drivers who get behind the wheel while distracted, city officials have also passed rules that penalize anyone who crosses the road on foot while looking down at a cellphone.

Whether you are reading an article or composing a text message, you could end up with a ticket for up to $99 if someone in law enforcement sees you. Clearly, the intent here is to reduce the risk of distracted pedestrians stepping out into traffic and causing major crashes. Pedestrians who text not only risk injury to themselves if they get struck, but also create the risk of more dramatic collisions if someone swerves to avoid them.

The convenience of constant contact provided by mobile phones is often outweighed by the risks that they pose to people in potentially dangerous situations. Whether you are walking or driving somewhere, you should leave your phone in your purse or your pocket until you reach your destination. Pulling it out before then could mean facing steep fines and potentially ending up hurt.

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