Honolulu police crack down on electronic device ban

Honolulu police continue to crack down on distracted drivers in an effort to keep roads safe.

From 8:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday, HPD officers say about 30 people were cited for using electronic devices while driving on Lunalilo St. near Piikoi St.

From July 2013, when the statewide law went into effect, to February 2014, more than 7,000 citations were issued across the state. Of those citations, nearly 5,000 were issued on Oahu.

All of those drivers are headed to a courtroom. That’s because anyone caught using a mobile electronic device while driving must appear in court.

The State Judiciary says the cases are adding to the workload.

“Admittedly, it’s added few more cases to our calendar, last calendar year,” said Calvin Ching, Deputy Chief Court Administrator. “Even if those 7,000 citations are in the court house or outside of the courthouse, or within the courtroom versus outside of the courtroom, the judge still needs to read those and make the decision. So the workload just really shifts from in court to out of court.”

A bill at the state legislature would give drivers the option to take care of the citation by mail instead of going to court.

“The original bill, which I drafted, said that it had to go to court. What we’re doing is removing that, making it very similar to a traffic ticket where you say, ‘Yes, I was guilty. Here’s my fine,'” said Sen. Kalani English, (D) Transportation Chairman.

“I kind of feel that they should still have to go to court because if they just pay the fine, unless it’s a really hefty fine, I don’t know if they’re going to learn their lesson,” said driver Barbara Jurkens.

“It’d be better, that way we don’t have to take off work and lose money,” said driver Dylan Lai.

The bill has passed out of conference committee.

Read SB2729 in its entirety.

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