Hawaii’s Cellphone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws

Read about Hawaii’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a violation.

Hawaii’s distracted driving laws prohibit all motorists from using a handheld mobile electronic device while driving. And for certain drivers, even hands-free device use is prohibited. This article discusses the specifics of what the law restricts and the penalties you’ll face for a cellphone or texting ticket.

Mobile Electronic Device Use

In Hawaii, it’s illegal to use a handheld mobile electronic device while operating a vehicle. The restriction applies to talking on the phone, texting, and all other uses of an electronic device. But for most drivers, the ban isn’t applicable to hands-free device use.

Drivers under 18 years old, however, are completely prohibited from using an electronic device while operating a vehicle, regardless of whether hands-free or voice-operated technology is used.

Exceptions. Hawaii’s electronic device use prohibition doesn’t apply to:

  • 9-1-1 calls
  • emergency responders using a device within the scope of their job
  • certain two-way and amateur radio use, or
  • drivers who are at a complete stop in a safe location off the roadway with the engine turned off.


A distracted driving violation carries the following penalties:

  • Standard violation. Most distracted driving tickets will result in a $250 fine.
  • School and construction zones. Distracted driving violations that occur in a school or construction zone carry a $300 fine.
  • Commercial violations. A motorist who receives a distracted driving ticket while operating a commercial vehicle faces up to $2,750 in fines and may be looking at a suspension of commercial driving privileges.

Other Possible Charges

Depending on the circumstances, a texting or cellphone violation could also lead to a reckless or an inattentive driving conviction. And if one of these violations results in the death of another person, negligent homicide charges are a possibility.


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