Cell phone ban while driving on Oahu a week away - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Cell phone ban while driving on Oahu a week away

Derek Rueber Derek Rueber
Dustin Kahawai Dustin Kahawai

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Only one more week until Oahu drivers experience a big change in how they drive. Beginning next Wednesday, cell phone use while driving is banned unless you use a hands-free device.

It seems a lot of people are ready. Wherever you go, more and more people are wearing little Bluetooth devices in their ears. The new law goes into effect next week, and drivers seem to be getting the message.

This is typical midday traffic in town. Drivers on Oahu have only a week to buy a hands-free device or not use their mobile phones when they're driving. Most seem to know the deadline is coming up.

"Sure, it's on the first," said Derek Rueber, a driver who is from Nuuanu. "You know they've been talking about it. Everywhere you go, you can't. So, it sucks, but oh, well."

The Honolulu City Council recently approved a measure banning the use of mobile phones by Oahu drivers without a hands-free device.

So besides not being able to put your phone to your face like this when you're driving, you also can't text, check email or do a lot of things people do with their cell phones.

Many think this is a good idea.

"Yeah, because most of the people you see driving around, they got a phone on, they're driving like idiots," said Rueber. "So, unfortunately it's probably necessary."

Because of the ban, the sale of hands free devices have increased, especially Bluetooth devices.

"Prior to this, it used to be the wired headsets people would have to use," said Dustin Kahawai, director of new business development at Local Wireless. "Bluetooth technology now has become widespread and pretty much every single cell phone that is available on the market. It's a common thing."

Prices have come way down. You can pick out a basic model for $25. And some of the fancier ones can do more than just let you hear and talk.

"Especially not only the fact that there are no wires, they actually have voice dialing built in so you can actually push a button and say call home, and it will automatically dial straight to your house without you even having to touch your phone," said Kahawai.

The reason for the ban is to make Oahu roads safer, but not everyone is convinced.

"I don't think it's going to be any safer," said Rueber.

"You don't think it's going to make a difference?" asked KHNL.

"I think it's a step in the right direction as far as people not messing up on the road, but nah, it'll probably have the same stuff," said Rueber.

The new law also bans laptop and electronic games use. However, you are allowed to make 9-1-1 calls.

Again, the ban goes into effect July 1.

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