Governors Highway Safety Association Praises Hawaii's New Distracted Driving Law

May 24, 2013 -

The Governors Highway Safety Association is heaping praise on lawmakers in Hawaii for passing a very tough law against distracted driving and another law concerning seatbelts. The law prohibits drivers from texting or using hand-held devices while driving.

While there are some loopholes for adults over the age of 18, for youngsters just about all device usage while driving is now illegal including cell phones, video game devices, music devices, and more.

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Honolulu Cop Busted for Shoplifting Videogame

September 29, 2010 -

Crime doesn’t pay, or so the phrase goes, but it appears that law enforcement doesn’t pay either, as a Honolulu police officer has been charged with shoplifting a videogame.

John F. Rapozo, a member of the HPD’s Narcotics-Vice Division was hit with a fourth-degree theft charge for allegedly pocketing a game during a September 10th trip to a Pearl City Wal-Mart store. The Star Advertiser reports that this is the third time an HPD officer has been arrested this month, while an additional five members of the force are being investigated for “major crimes,” and another 17 cases involving officers are currently in the prosecutor’s office.

All this activity led an exasperated HPD Chief Louis Kealoha to state, “The department holds its officers to a higher standard than the general public, and every allegation or complaint is fully investigated.”

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Honolulu Bans Cell Phones, Game Playing While Driving

May 5, 2009 -

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.

36 comments

Honolulu Mayor Vetoes Ban on Gaming, Texting While Driving

February 13, 2009 -

The mayor of Honolulu has vetoed a recently-passed law that would make it illegal to text or play a video game while driving.

As reported by the Honolulu Star, Mayor Mufi Hannemann (left) notified City Council by letter that he was exercising his veto power over concerns about enforcement of the measure. The gaming/texting while driving law was passed by City Council late last month. The Mayor explained his veto in his letter:

I applaud the Council's intent to address this public safety matter. A police officer operating a motor vehicle will only have a second or two to determine if the driver is committing a violation by text messaging or playing a video game.

As GamePolitics has previously reported, Honolulu's police chief also expressed concerns about the ability of his officers to enforce the measure. Mayor Hannemann has indicated that he would support a more generalized ban on cell phone use while driving.

Meanwhile, City Councilman Charles Djou criticized the Mayor's decision:

The facts are as they stood two weeks ago. The Council should override, and the only reason a Council member should change one's mind is politics.

37 comments

Honolulu Passes Ban on Texting, Gaming While Driving

January 29, 2009 -

A proposal to ban texting and playing video games while driving has been passed by the Honolulu City Council, according to the Honolulu Advertiser.

As GamePolitics previously reported, the measure does not enjoy the support of the city's police department due to perceived difficulties in enforcement. City Councilman Nestor Garcia commented on the passage of the bill:

Most citizens will abide by it so if we can prevent one accident, whether it be by texting or playing a video game, then the imperfect law on the books will have done its job.

However, Councilman Rod Tam, who cast the only dissenting vote, criticized the measure:

This is bad legislation — unenforceable — an embarrassing situation.

The 2008 case of a city bus driver who was photographed playing a handheld game while driving was part of the impetus behind the new law. In discussing the bill, sponsor Charles Djou (left) harkened back to the bus incident:

Although the bus driver received some administrative punishment, there was nothing wrong or illegal with that bus driver engaging in that activity. This Honolulu City Council needs to make a very clear statement that that sort of activity should not be allowed on our public roadways.

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