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Mayor Kenoi Signs Hands-Free Cell Phone Bill

Media Release

Mayor Billy Kenoi yesterday signed an ordinance into law that mandates the use of a hands-free device when using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

Bill 66, introduced by Hawai‘i County Councilman Pete Hoffmann, was adopted by the Council on June 16. The signed ordinance was delivered to the County Clerk’s office today.

Starting January 1, 2010, the new law requires motorists to use a hands-free device when using a mobile electronic device while driving. Violators may be fined up to $150 per offense. Anyone causing a collision with injury or damage while using a mobile electronic device while driving without hands-free equipment may be fined up to $500 per offense.

“Many people will have to change their behavior as a result of this legislation including me,” said Mayor Kenoi. “But if it saves lives, prevents injuries and property damage, using a hands-free device is a small price to pay.”

Exemptions to the law include emergency responders using a mobile electronic device for a 911 emergency call, drivers using two-way radios in the performance and scope of their work-related duties, and drivers holding valid amateur radio operator licenses issued by the FCC.

Hawai‘i County police will help make the public aware of the new ordinance before it takes effect.

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