By Don Robbins, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsJune 30, 2009
Beginning July 1, new law that matches Army policy goes into effect
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii - Now it's going to be important to keep your hands on the steering wheel, both on-post and off.
The current U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii (USAG-HI) Policy 43 already forbids the use of cell phones while driving on post, unless a hands-free device is used. So, Soldiers and family members should be able to easily adapt to a new off-post law.
Starting July 1, motorists on the island of Oahu may be cited for operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device, unless they have a hands-free system.
"We pretty much mirror what they have," said Fred Makinney, operations officer, Directorate of Emergency Services (DES), USAG-HI.
According to Honolulu Police Department (HPD) spokeswoman Michelle Yu, "the law's purpose is to make Honolulu roadways safer for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.
"We hope for the public's cooperation," Yu said.
There will not be a special enforcement campaign for the new law, and HPD will issue violations as they view them, Yu said. There will be no grace period.
The new City and County of Honolulu law also prohibits texting and phone calls while stopped in traffic. There is a $67 fine for the first offense.
A mobile electronic device includes pagers, personal digital assistants, and laptop computers, video games and digital photographic devices.
In addition, the law applies to out-of-state drivers. Passengers are not affected by the law, only the driver.
The new law exempts the use of cellular phones for emergency 911 calls.
According to the existing USAG-HI-43 Policy, first time on-post offenders will be subject to a 14-day suspension of driving privileges on post. Second time offenders will lose driving privileges for 30 days. A third offense will result in a 180-day suspension.