Last week, both Florida and Hawaii enacted laws regarding the usage of mobile devices while driving.
Hawaii’s new law prohibits the use of cellular phones and other mobile electronic devices while operating a vehicle, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It will become effective July 1, and the fine for a first offense is $100 or more.
“I commend Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Hawaii legislature for taking an important stand against the danger of distracted driving today,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This new law banning texting while driving will ultimately save many lives and prevent injuries on Hawaii’s roads.”
Enacted by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law” will make texting, emailing or instant messaging a secondary offense, according to NHTSA. Starting Oct. 1, a first violation will be considered a non-moving violation, while another violation within five years will be treated as a moving violation.
"Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous and irresponsible decisions a driver can make …" said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “We are making a difference in the fight against distracted driving through a combination of good laws, tough and consistent enforcement and extensive public education.”
In 2009, LaHood launched a national anti-distracted driving campaign to combat the growing trend of dangerous distracted driving behavior in America, according to NHTSA. To help raise more awareness on distracted driving, the U.S. Department of Transportation also launched www.distraction.gov.
With the addition of Florida and Hawaii, 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Guam ban text messaging for all drivers, said NHTSA. And Hawaii is the 11th state – in addition to the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands – to prohibit all drivers from using handheld cellphones while driving.