Gov. Abercrombie signs 2 traffic safety bills into law

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed into law two traffic safety bills that aim to save lives and reduce serious injuries from vehicle crashes in Hawaii.

Senate Bill 4, requires that all front seat and back seat occupants buckle up, effective immediately.

Previously, only children were required to wear a seat belt in the back seat.

“Hawaii is putting safety first on our roadways with the enactment of our state’s universal seat belt law; this measure closes the gap in protecting all passengers riding in a motor vehicle,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “In addition, the enactment of Hawaii’s distracted driving law establishes consistency across the state for the usage of mobile electronic devices while driving, simplifying enforcement and likewise making our highways and roadways safer.”

Anyone caught not wearing a seat belt faces a $92 fine.

Drivers will be cited since they are responsible for making sure passengers buckle up.

House Bill 980 was also signed into law on Monday.

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.

The law is effective July 1.

“People are injured or dying each year simply because they were not paying attention to the road. The possibility of causing a crash that could ruin lives is just too great,” Department of Transportation Director Glenn Okimoto said. “We are focusing on changing the behaviors of drivers through legislation, enforcement, public awareness and education – the same activities that have helped curb impaired driving and increased seat belt use. Our goal is to help drivers understand that texting, cell phone use, and other distractions behind the wheel can have dangerous consequences.”

On Monday, the state DOT also kicked off its annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

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