Maui News

Maui Police Launch “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” Campaign

April 1, 2016, 11:22 AM HST
* Updated April 1, 4:43 PM
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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.

The Maui Police Department will be participating in the national “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” campaign. Additional enforcement of Hawaii’s Mobile Electronic Device Law is planned starting on April 8th and continuing until April 13th.

Law enforcement personnel nationwide will be using a combination of traditional and innovative strategies to crack down on motorists who text while driving. This effort is a part of the national “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” high-visibility enforcement campaign that combines intense enforcement of distracted driving laws with advertising and media outreach to let people know about the enforcement and convince them to obey the law.

Violating Hawaiʻi’s Mobile Electronic Device law, which became effective on July 1, 2013, can be costly. Under Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes 291C-137, anyone using a Mobile Electronic Device while driving faces a fine of $297 and $347 if in a school or construction zone. MED’s include, but are not limited to: cellphones, tablet computers, digital cameras, and gaming devices.

The Maui Police Department urges all drivers to remember to use a hands free device, pull over or just wait until they reach their destination before using any Mobile Electronic Device. “Our primary goal during the operation is to make the roadways of Maui County safe for the entire public to use by reducing the number of motor vehicle collisions caused by distracted driving,” a department press release stated.

According to Maui Police, “distracted driving statistics portray a grim picture.”  In 2014, an estimated 3,179 people were killed (10% of all crash fatalities) and an additional 431,000 were injured (18% of all crash injuries) in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, officials said.

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Maui police cited a 2014 special article in the New England Journal of Medicine, which reported that the risk of a crash or near-crash among novice drivers increased with the performance of many secondary tasks, including texting and dialing cell phones.

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According to the NHTSA, at any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010.

During the 2015 campaign, held from April 8 to April 13, officers from the Maui Police Department Traffic Section, Kīhei patrol and Lahaina Patrol, issued 764 citations, of which 616 where for Mobile Electronic Devices. “We hope to see a reduction in these numbers by means of education and voluntary compliance,” said Maui police.

“Anytime someone takes their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off the task of driving; they risk causing a crash. No one has the right to put another person’s life at risk,” Maui police said.

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