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Mayor signs cell phone ban

Effective May 23

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Posted: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:45 pm

LIHU‘E — After months of legal wrangling, language tinkering and one false finish, a safety-minded ban on handheld electronic use while driving is now the law of the land.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. on Tuesday signed Bill No. 2336 into law, starting the three-month countdown to the now-official effective date of May 23, his office announced.

The definition of “mobile electronic device” includes cell phones, text messaging devices, paging devices, personal digital assistants, laptop computers, video games and cameras and excludes audio equipment or navigation equipment installed in a vehicle and video entertainment for passengers.

Two-way radios — a term that does not cover push-to-talk phones — used for business purposes shall not be banned.

The bill defines “use or using” to mean “holding a mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle.”

Hands-free devices like Bluetooth will be allowed by the law, although specific references endorsing similar technologies in the original version of the legislation were removed after bill introducer Derek Kawakami determined it was unclear if it is handheld electronics use specifically or distracted driving in general that creates dangerous conditions on the roads.

The Kaua‘i Police Department will be authorized to issue $50 citations for violations. That amount doubles to $100 for violations in school zones or construction work areas.

The Kaua‘i County Council passed the bill on second reading last week — for the second time. Both Council Services and the Office of the Mayor confirmed Tuesday that the bill takes effect three months, rather than 90 days, after the bill is signed.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • LocalPride posted at 7:27 pm on Thu, Feb 25, 2010.

    LocalPride Posts: 3

    I believe you can survive without it until you reach your destination. It's not like your life depends on you calling your best friend to see what she ate for lunch while you are driving to Burger King to feed your face. COME ON PEOPLE!

    Not only that.. I think it would be nice if people would not use their phones while in the drive thru at any food service area. THAT IS JUST PLAIN RUDE! Making the people behind and servers wait just so you can talk story. Just a note: THEY HANDLE YOUR FOOD

  • northshorewahine posted at 8:23 pm on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.

    northshorewahine Posts: 20

    I totally agree with localboy, "common sence" is the key word here. I also seen so much close calls happen to myself with my kids in the truck and others, just to see while they pass that they were on their cell phone! take a minute or two to pull off safely to take care of the call. it's not hard ! it may not save lives, but it would for sure save you the headaches of dealing with insurance and lost work time cause of a fender bender or worst. Mahalo for the ban!

  • ilndgirl posted at 6:31 pm on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.

    ilndgirl Posts: 1

    I almost got hit today by a driver in his work truck. He crossed over into my lane and I had to swerve off. He was either texting or about to make a call. And thats not my first encounter. Maybe this will be a good thing.

  • localboy posted at 3:52 pm on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.

    localboy Posts: 4

    Studies are always biased. Common sense tells me the roads will be safer. I lost count of how many close calls I've had with drivers on cell phones running red lights, speeding, never signaling

  • jonathan posted at 11:45 am on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.

    jonathan Posts: 12

    Even if it doesn't _actually_ save lives or reduce accidents, it sure _seems_ like it should. Lets' face it, appearances are important (even empty gestures).

    Ok fine - so the "facts" don't support this "notion" of safety, Derrick, The Chief, OPRAH! Kaipo

  • Alfred posted at 8:28 am on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.

    Alfred Posts: 43

    Let's see... Ban cell phones and save lives. The latest research says there is no benefit in saved lives from these types of laws. Wake up Kauai. Mr. Kawakami and the mayor are trying to seem so concerned while refusing to tackle the real issues facing Kauai. Feel good governance's cost is lost freedoms and greater governmental intrusion into our lives. Think Kauai.... Mahalo

  • lawaiside posted at 8:02 am on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.

    lawaiside Posts: 2

    Anyone do any research before signing this into law?
    "Laws banning cellphone use while driving apparently haven’t reduced crashes, according to a study released that compared the number of total crashes before the ban with the number after". More at...
    I see potential for more crashes with people pulling off the road "wherever" to answer their phones. Do more research before jumping on this insane bandwagon!

  • lawaiside posted at 7:53 am on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.

    lawaiside Posts: 2

    Anyone do any research before signing this into law? I did...
    "Laws banning cellphone use while driving apparently haven’t reduced crashes, according to a study released that compared the number of total crashes before the ban with the number after. The study found virtually no difference in the numbers" More at
    I see a potential for more crashes with everyone pulling off the road whenever their phone rings!


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