Hawaii’s Cell Phone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws and Penalties

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 cell phone or texting ticket.

Hawaii's Distracted Driving (Texting and Phones) Law

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 doesn't apply to hands-free device use. (Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 291C-137.)

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 to Hawaii's Ban on Texting and Using a Cell Phone While Driving

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.

However, the exception for 9-1-1 calls is an affirmative defense. So it's up to the driver to prove he or she was using an electronic device to call 9-1-1.

Penalties for Distracted Driving (Texting and Phones) in Hawaii

A distracted driving violation generally just carries a fine. But commercial drivers might also be facing license suspension.

Fines for Texting and Cell Phone Tickets in Hawaii

Most distracted driving tickets will result in a $300 fine.

Fines for Hawaii Distracted Driving Tickets in School and Construction Zones

Distracted driving violations that occur in a school or construction zone carry a $400 fine.

Penalties for Distracted Driving in a Commercial Vehicle in Hawaii

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.

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