U Drive U Text U Pay: Distracted Driving Enforcement, April 10-15

April 10, 2014, 6:55 AM HST · Updated April 10, 11:12 AM
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U Drive U Text U Pay. Logo courtesy National Transportation Safety Board. Image/graphics by Wendy Osher.

U Drive U Text U Pay. Logo courtesy National Transportation Safety Board. Image/graphics by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

Maui police begin a five day enforcement campaign to crack down on distracted driving as part of the national “U drive. U text. U pay.” campaign that runs April 10-15, 2014.

Police describe distracted driving as any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving, including text and instant messaging, gaming, and e-mailing.

Lieutenant Ricky Uedoi, who serves as traffic section commander, said text messaging is the most common and most dangerous distraction because it requires, “visual, manual and cognitive attention from a driver.”

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Drivers that are issued a citation will be fined and ordered to appear in court.

The fines include the following: $100 to $200 for a first time violator; $200 to $300 for a second offense within one year; $300 to $500 for violations that occur within two years of two prior violations, and for the fourth and each subsequent violation, regardless of when committed. Each fine is in addition to court fees. Drivers cited within a school or construction zone will be required to pay double the aforementioned fine amount.

Maui police issued 198 citations so far this year, and 2,752 citations in 2013, for people using a hand-held mobile electronic device while driving, according to data released by the department.

Nationwide, 3,328 people were killed, and an estimated 421,000 people were injured in crashes in 2012 involving a distracted driver, according to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and detailed by Maui police.

 The distracted driving law was signed by Governor Neil Abercrombie in July of last year, prohibiting the use of cellular phones and other mobile electronic devices while operating a vehicle. Prior to that, each county had enacted their own ordinance addressing distracted driving incidents.

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