Police starts enforcing cell phone ban

Maj. Clayton Kau
Maj. Clayton Kau

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Police issued more than three dozen citations on the first day of Oahu's ban on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.

We stand along busy Bishop Street in Downtown Honolulu and struggle to find a driver holding a cell phone on day two of an island-wide ban.

"Based on visual observations, police officers are reporting that a majority of motorists are complying with the law," Maj. Clayton Kau, Honolulu Police Department, said.

Under the new law, a person could be ticketed for simply holding a mobile electronic device while behind the wheel. While many drivers are legally continuing to chat using hands-free units, police did issue 38 citations and seven warnings on the day one of the ban.

"We're never pleased when we have to issue a citation or a warning," Kau said. "We made them aware that there is a law in place and that they need to comply with the law."

HPD's Traffic Division, which carries out enforcement across Oahu, wrote up the most tickets -- 11 of the 38.

Officers in District 7 -- East Honolulu -- issued eight citations.

Officers in District 4 -- Kailua, Kaneohe and Kahuku -- gave out six tickets and five warnings, even though police originally said there would be no warning period.

"We have discretionary powers," Kau said. "The officer may have decided that instead of issuing a citation, issue the warning to the driver."

Just because fewer drivers are using hand-held electronic devices, that doesn't mean every behind-the-wheel juggling act has stopped. Talk about multi-tasking. We find one man going over some paperwork during his commute.

"The purpose of the law is to reduce, at least reduce the number of distractions and to make our roadways safe," Kau said.