Like many other cities across the nation, Maui has been plagued by an influx of
distracted driving violations. The Maui Police Department has already issued nearly 200 citations
this year to people using a hand-held mobile electronic device while driving.
In 2013, Maui police issued a record 2,752 citations. The issue has caused
Maui officers to aggressively crack down on distracted drivers to avoid
car accidents that result in serious injuries or death.
If You Absolutely Need To Use Your Cell Phone - Pull Over
Those are the words of Lieutenant Ricky Uedoi, who serves as the Traffic
Section Commander of the Maui Police Department. In a recent statement to
Mauinow.com, he told Maui drivers:
If you need to check for driving conditions or weather related updates,
pull into a parking lot where it is safe and check your phone there, not
in traffic or on the side of the road where you may pose a hazard to yourself
or other motorists.
Although that would seem to be common sense, the truth is that many drivers
simply continue to engage in distracted driving behavior - which statistics
confirm. Maui Police report that they issued 2,752 citations in 2013 to
people using a hand-held mobile electronic device while driving and nearly
200 in the first three months of 2014.
National statistics reflect the same dangerous behavior. According to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,328 people were killed and an estimated 421,000 people were injured
in crashes in 2012 involving a distracted driver.
U Drive, U Text, U Pay
The Maui Police Department began aggressively enforcing distracted driving
violations as part of the national U Drive, U Text, U Pay campaign and
through new distracted driving laws that were signed by Hawaii Governor
Neil Abercrombie in July of last year. Under the new laws, drivers who
are issued a citation will be fined and ordered to appear in court. The
- $100 to $200 for a first time violator;
- $200 to $300 for a second offense within one year;
- $300 to $500 for violations that occur within two years of two prior violations,
and for the fourth and each subsequent violation, regardless of when committed.
Each fine is in addition to court fees, and drivers cited within a school
or construction zone will be required to pay double the aforementioned
fine amount. Police define distracted driving as:
any activity that could divert a person's attention from the primary
task of driving, which includes text messaging and using any handheld
electronic mobile device while operating a motor vehicle.
Police and legislators hope that increasing fines and penalties will reduce
the number of Hawaii distracted driving accidents in the future. However,
many say that a cultural change must occur first and that drivers must
better understand that
any activity that decreases their cognitive skills while driving can result
in serious car accidents, costly medical bills and death.
Proving Negligence in a Hawaii Distracted Driving Claim
Motorists who violate Hawaii's distracted driving laws may be presumed
negligent. That means a crash victim seeking compensation would not have
to prove that the other driver was careless. If an accident victim can
prove that the crash was a direct result of the violation, the victim
may be entitled to compensation for losses such as medical bills, lost
income, physical and emotional pain and suffering, rehabilitation and more.
If you've been the victim of a distracted driver, contact an experienced
Hawaii car accident lawyer to analyze your situation and determine your
legal options so that you have the information you need to decide what's
best for you and your family.