Honolulu Bans Cell Phones, Game Playing While Driving

Gaming while driving will earn you a ticket in Honolulu soon.

The Star-Times reports that on Thursday Mayor Mufi Hannemann will sign into law a bill that bans the use of all portable electronic devices by motorists. The measure, recently passed by City Council, contains an exception for hands-free devices.

Earlier this year Mayor Hannemann, acting on the advice of his police chief, vetoed a similar bill which would have made texting – but not general mobile phone use – illegal while driving.

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  1. PumaFau says:

    Ok RLY?

    Playing a Videogame while driving is about as smart as drinking acid.

    Seriously who is dumb enough to do that

    btw I have seen women put on their makeup and texting.

    Morons and I am not even driving yet.

  2. asmodai says:

    We have a similar law in Australia except it includes talking on handset mobile phones.  You can use a hands free bluetooth headset, wired head set or a hands free car setup.

    Truth be told, it’s not particularly onerous, most phones have a decent speaker mode by default these days so you don’t actually have to purchase anything above and beyond to be compliant.

    Never mind cell phones for overarching draconian laws, we’ve already had the government in Western Australia trying to ban smoking in the car when driving with children to reduce the health risk of second hand smoke. 

  3. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Its called distrected driver law,most states have them when they pile on speffics its all a revenune grab…


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


  4. Kioshi says:

    For those of you who think a lot of people actually try to play games while driving, I believe the ONLY reason why video games was mentioned was because of the bus driver incident we had here a few months ago. Just because they mention it in this bill does not mean we all like to be playing games while on the road, compared to other states, we don’t spend nearly enough time on our roads to promt gaming.

    I personally am glad they decided to ban all electronic devices, originally they had only wanted to ban texting and gaming, which I thought would be hard to enforce. As I said before, with sidekicks and QWRTY keyboards becoming more common place, it can be a little hard to watch for someone texting. Some of you people may think I am being stupid for saying such things, but the cop would need a few seconds to determine if someone is texting or calling someone. Many cops too may not also be into electronics so I can predict someone getting pulled over for what the cop thought was texting, when someone was trying to make a phone call.

    Since they decided to ban all electronic devices, its not a lot easier to tell if someone is breaking that law, because any electronic device could warrent the ticket.

  5. Alyric says:

    I wouldn’t imagine it would be too hard to define distracted driving as most things which divert significant attention away from awareness of your surroundings… but then, I’m no lawyer.

  6. Michael Chandra says:

    In other news, a man was arrested today for looking at a girl flashing him, thus violating the distracted driving law.

  7. Kojiro says:

    I agree that ANY conversation is distracting.  But a conversation in your ear is even more distracting.  Phones, hands free or not, are distracting.  People who think they are a good multi-tasker are fooling themselves.

    Laws like these aren’t so much a matter of "is it enforcable?" as "will this being a law deter some people from driving on the phone?"  Also, it gives cops one more reason to pull over people who are driving dangerously.  One more tool for law enforcement.

    As far as all the other things you listed (in an earlier reply), they are already illegal.  It is already illegal to drink, read, eat, etc., or at least it is in the states in which I have lived.  It’s just not really enforced, unless you are eating a taco while you rear-end someone.  Then the cop will likely write you an additional ticket and chide you for it as well.

  8. Arell says:

    I ride with a friend to work twice a week.  He keeps TWO cell phones n the dashboard, one work and one home.  There isn’t a day where he doesn’t hit the rumble strips or slam the breaks to avoid hitting a stopped car.

    But you can’t tell him otherwise.  He just has to answer that damn phone and chat with whomever is calling.  Even if they’re just talking about random things that could easily have waited ’til we got home.  Nevermind that it’s kinda rude to answer your cell phone when you’re with somebody else.

    Screw it.  If a cop just happens to see someone with a phone glued to their ear, give ’em a ticket.  "Unenforcable"?  Bull.  People get pulled over for not having a seatbelt, and you can’t tell me that’s any less difficult to see than a hand clamped over somone’s ear.  And the threat alone should stop most of them, so it’s not like the police have to go trolling for this behavior.

  9. Good Lord says:

    "Holding a cell phone in your hand isn’t distracting unless you’re retarded."

    Most people on the road are retarded. That’s the point of laws like these.

  10. Kioshi says:

    I am pretty sure video games were only mentioned because of that one bus incident we had a few months ago. Aside from that, I haven’t seen/heard of any other news about someone playing games while driving.

    It was probably mentioned more so like an example. To help show people that all electronics are banned, cause you’re always gonna get those stupid people that love to ask "So can I wear the dress pants on my head" when someone says they have to bring dress pants to work or something dumb like that.

  11. Monte says:

     Its not just a matter of distractions but also a matter of control. Your supposed to keep your both your hands on the steering wheel as you have more control over the car. Personally, i rarely answer my cell phone while driving because i sometimes have trouble handling turning with one hand (if i’m expecting an important call, i’ll have a hands free thing ready). 

    Are there people you can handle driving with one hand just fine? of course. But their are plenty of people who do not, and amongst those people who are stupid enough to try and talk on their phone even if they don’t have as good control… this becomes especially noticable when it comes to dealing with an emergency on the road; if you skid on some ice, do you think you can handle it with one hand, or is it better to use 2 hands.

    And something that must always be considered is that the risks of driving include not just your own safety, but the safety of your passengers, and other cars on the road…. you want to take some risk on yourself, fine, but the law would rather you not do anything that could potentially involve others.

    And that’s why these laws come into play, because their are plenty of people you can’t drive at 100% efficiency while driving with one hand, and considering how badly people can be hurt while driving, that heightened risk becomes unacceptable.

  12. Andrew Eisen says:

    I don’t see a need for an increase in police force.  If a cop happens to see a driver gaming, that’s grounds for pulling them over and writing a ticket.


    Andrew Eisen

  13. chadachada321 says:

    Holding a cell phone in your hand isn’t distracting unless you’re retarded. Talking to someone isn’t that distracting as long as you put the road first and your speaking second. Hell, having no sound is more distracting to me than having someone talk to me. If there’s no sound, my mind starts to wander, and then I lose focus on the road. (ADD for the win)

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  14. chadachada321 says:

    "Where you just playing a game?" "No…" "I thought I saw you playing a game. I’m writing you a ticket."

    In the 1/2 second that a cop has to look at you as you pass him, there is much room for misinterpretation, or just a cop being a dick because he can get away with it. Granted, yes, if a cop was driving alongside a car and saw that the driver was playing a game, then the law is enforceable, but otherwise it just opens another door for cops to abuse power when they want to, and be otherwise useless. That’s if we’re talking about gaming while driving or texting while driving.

    Banning cell phones and electronic devices altogether while driving…that’s just stupid, because we might as well ban radio, and passengers, and other cars from distracting us too.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  15. Dragoon1376 says:

    I guess it’s how you view driving.  Is it primarily a physical affair or a mental one?  Maybe a combination of both.  If you side with the mental view then conversations in any form, hands-free or not, are just as distracting.  If you side with the physical perspective, then the hands-free route is a win (unless you’re a poor college student like myself).  Personally, I think it’s based on an individual’s ability to multi-task and their competence as a driver.

    First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

  16. Good Lord says:

    "Not only that, the advent of the cell phone as a business tool enables people to become a lot more productive than before.  It allows for you to update business clients, friends, family, what have you, of your status if you’re going to be late.  While you can make the case for pulling over if you need to make a call, how is that feasible on a highway?"

    That’s what they make hands-free devices for. No pull-over necessary, and you don’t put anyone’s life at risk. Simple.

  17. Dragoon1376 says:

    It approaches that point in terms of how many factors play into seeing someone playing a game in their car.  You need a large enough police presence on the roads to cover more ground.  You need cops to be in a relatively close distance to see driver X playing a video game.  The law would also need to take into account that just about any personal electronic device has the capabilities to play games of some sort.  Because I think it would be harder to actually see someone doing this, the video game/cell phone issue is more an incidental ticket.  You notice someone speeding and pull them over to write them a ticket only to discover they have a cell phone or a DS that they were using.  It’s like the seatbelt laws in that way.

    But, as I mentioned in my original post: there is the issue of a police force that is capable of enforcing this law.  If you want reasonable coverage for an action that is pretty commonplace then you need an increase in the police force.  In that sense, I think it is cost preventitive as well as being difficult to identify.


    First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

  18. Andrew Eisen says:

    "My view is that it’s easier/more noticeable to see what someone is doing with their car (i.e. speeding, tailgating) as opposed to what they’re doing in their car."

    I totally agree with that but I still don’t see how something as simple as "if you see someone playing a game while driving, write them a ticket" is even approaching the realm of unenforceable.


    Andrew Eisen

  19. Dragoon1376 says:

    My view is that it’s easier/more noticeable to see what someone is doing with their car (i.e. speeding, tailgating) as opposed to what they’re doing in their car.  Further clarification of my statement though: I don’t see this law as being being easily or feasibly enforciable to the point that it is nigh unenforciable. 

    First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

  20. Andrew Eisen says:

    "Lastly, I don’t see this law as being enforciable…"

    I’ve honestly never understood this argument.  If you see someone playing a game while driving, pull them over and give them a ticket.  Simple.


    Andrew Eisen

  21. Dragoon1376 says:

    I’d have to disagree with you over this.  The law itself seems like a nasty means of dictating future behavior because the number of things that could be seen as a distraction for a driver is huge.  Passengers, radios, drinks, make up, kids, etc.  All these things could cause the driver to divert their attention and cause an accident.

    Not only that, the advent of the cell phone as a business tool enables people to become a lot more productive than before.  It allows for you to update business clients, friends, family, what have you, of your status if you’re going to be late.  While you can make the case for pulling over if you need to make a call, how is that feasible on a highway? 

    Lastly, I don’t see this law as being enforciable without a major push to get more police on the road, which then diverts them from potentially more serious crimes.  If you rely on public enforcement like the poor exhaust reporting system then you open it up for just petty assholes calling in people because they feel you’re going too slow.

    There are good drivers and their bad drivers.  The bad drivers would probably still try to run up your tail pipe with or without a cell phone.

    First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

  22. Arell says:

    They probably weren’t thinking of Playstation or DS when designing this law, but rather cellphone games or IPhone apps.  They just generalized the language to include all video games, just in case.

    Of the law, I approve.  I wish they’d ban cell phones while driving in my State.  I’m tired of stupid drivers nearly killing me because they’re driving one handed and fixated on thier conversation.  I mean, really, do we have to be connected 24/7?

  23. Monte says:

     One of the primary concerns with driving is not the element of distraction, but maintaining control of the car. Most people have better control of their car when they have both hands on the wheel… less control of the car, the higher risk of accident… cell phones busy one of your hands, but hand free sets do not; hence why they are ‘ok’

  24. gamadaya says:

    So they can’t use cell phones, but hands free sets are OK? What.


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  25. Ray Ayanami says:

    Cellphone driving is bad, but kinda understandable.

    Gaming and driving is bad and not understandable. If you really wanna play games while getting around on motorized transit, carpool with another driver or take the bus.

  26. ScotlandTom says:

    Because the greater the generality of the law the more it can be contested or exploited.  How do you define "distracted driving" and furthermore, how do you prove it?

    If you don’t define the laws very specifically up front you’re just asking for the courts to become tied up with the issue later, which is far more time-consuming and expensive.

  27. HarmlessBunny says:

    Apparently people are that pants on head retarded. I haven’t seen it before either…but seems like enough do it in Hawaii…

  28. Werrick says:

    Everytime I see a story like this I find myself thinking "Who the hell is stupid enough to play games while driving?!"

    Not only have I never done this, I’ve never seen it or even HEARD of it. Do people actually do this?

  29. thefremen says:

     I’ve been to Honolulu. More than half the cars on the road are either Taxi drivers who are insane or visitors in rented cars. 

  30. Roh02 says:

    if your dumb enough to drive and game I dont think making it against the law is gonna stop you

  31. hellfire7885 says:

    Eh, I started to say one shouldn’t need to legislate common sense, then I remember all the times me and my family have nearly been taken out by some high schooler who’s too busy texting to pay attention to not killing people.

    Another law outlawing textspeak would be nice too.

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