Kauai drivers face phone ban in May
By Michael Levine
The Garden Island
LĪHU'E, Kaua'i — Kaua'i County drivers will soon be banned from using cell phones and other hand-held electronic devices while behind the wheel.
Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. on Tuesday signed Bill No. 2336 into law. The ban takes effect May 23.
The definition of "mobile electronic device" includes cell phones, text messaging devices, paging devices, personal digital assistants, laptop computers, video games and cameras. It excludes audio equipment or navigation equipment installed in a vehicle and video entertainment for passengers.
Two-way radios — a category that does not cover push-to-talk phones — used for business purposes will not be banned.
Hands-free devices like Bluetooth will be allowed, although specific references endorsing similar technologies in the original version of the legislation were removed after bill introducer Derek Kawakami determined it was unclear if it is handheld electronics use specifically or distracted driving in general that creates dangerous conditions on the roads.
The Kaua'i Police Department will be authorized to issue $50 citations for violations. That amount doubles to $100 for violations in school zones or construction work areas.
The Kaua'i County Council passed the bill on second reading last week — for the second time. Both Council Services and the Office of the Mayor confirmed Tuesday that the bill takes effect three months, rather than 90 days, after the bill is signed.