HONOLULU, Hawaii – Everyone in a car travelling Hawaii’s roads must now wear a seat belt, and all islands are now legally unified when it comes to using mobile electronic devices.
On Monday afternoon, Governor Neil Abercrombie approved two significant traffic safety bills that the state says will save lives and reduce serious injuries from motor vehicle crashes.
In the presence of state transportation and health officials, county police departments and traffic safety advocates, Abercrombie signed into law Senate Bill 4, relating to “Motor Vehicles” and House Bill 980, relating to “Highway Safety”. The ceremony – live-streamed online – was held in conjunction with the Department of Transportation’s launch of the annual “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign.
|Neil Abercrombie, Governor||
The Office of the Governor described the two bills and provided quotes in a media release.
|Senate Bill 4, relating to “Motor Vehicles” – Enacted as Act 73, this measure requires all front seat and back seat occupants to buckle up, effective immediately. Adults and children must use their seat belts and child restraints at all times. Unrestrained back seat passengers were more than three times as likely to have injuries that were fatal or required hospitalization compared to restrained back seat passengers, based on DOH’s analysis of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) records. Additionally, among back seat passengers who were treated for injuries by EMS, average medical charges were nearly tripled among those who did not use seat belts ($11,043), compared to restrained passengers ($3,817).|
|Loretta Fuddy, DOH director||
|House Bill 980, relating to “Highway Safety” – Enacted today as Act 74, this measure is effective July 1, 2013. While all counties have some form of a distracted driving ordinance in place, this measure establishes a state law that creates consistent requirements across all counties for the use of mobile electronic devices while driving and will simplify enforcement. Crash data from the DOT shows that during 2007, 32 percent (2,871 of the 8,770 collisions) were attributed to inattention to driving.|
|Glenn Okimoto, DOT director||
State officials say that during the national Click It or Ticket mobilization from May 20 to June 2 and throughout the year, police statewide will be continuing strict enforcement of the state seat belt and child passenger restraint laws.
All car passengers must buckle up but 15 yr olds can still ride in pickup truck bed & motorcyclists don't have to wear crash helmets. #dumb
— Keola Donaghy (@keoladonaghy) May 21, 2013
1/3 – HB 980: does "mobile electronic device" include GPS as well as cell phones?
— Robert Thomas inversecondemnation.com (@invcondemnation) May 21, 2013