Hawaii’s Department of Health reports that at least 10% of Hawaii’s auto deaths were the result of distracted drivers. As of July 1, 2013, handheld cell phone use and texting is prohibited for all Hawaii drivers. All cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) is prohibited for Hawaii’s novice drivers (drivers under 18).
Cell Phone Use
A driver in Hawaii who uses a cell phone while driving (except to call 911 or to report medical, police or fire emergencies) can receive a traffic ticket and a maximum fine of $200 for first offense.
A driver in Hawaii who uses a cell phone to send text messages while driving in Hawaii can be fined up to $200 for a first offense and $300 for a second offense in the same year.
All Hawaii bus drivers are prohibited from using handheld cell phones and from texting.
How is it Enforced?
The updated Hawaii driving law imposes a fine of $200 for a first offense. Hawaii does not use a point system, so no points are assessed on a driver's license. Because the penalty is not deemed to be a traffic infraction, it appears that a distracted driving citation will have no effect on the driver's record.
Hawaii’s handheld cell phone and texting laws are considered “primary” laws, as is the prohibition on all cell phones for bus drivers. A primary law means that an officer can pull you over for the offense without having to witness some other violation. That is, the officer sees you texting and issues a citation.