East Hawaii News

Abercrombie Declares April ‘Distracted Driving Awareness Month’

March 19, 2013, 12:37 PM HST
* Updated March 19, 2:13 PM
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Gov. Neil Abercrombie today proclaimed the month of April “Distracted Driving Awareness Month” in Hawaii.

This is the first time that the Hawaii Department of Transportation is participating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s nationwide campaign.

Although distracted driving is most commonly associated with cell-phones, the campaign is focused on any activity that prevents the driver from operating a vehicle safely.

“As handheld electronic devices continue to become more prevalent, the temptation to use them while driving increases…” said Gov. Abercrombie.

The department will launch a statewide media campaign in April to raise awareness about distracted driving.

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County police departments will continue to enforce Hawaii’s existing ordinances prohibiting the use of mobile electronic devices. It is currently illegal to text or engage in other hand-held uses of mobile electronic devices such as cell phones, mp3 players, personal digital assistants and navigation devices.

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Studies have shown that distracted driving due to cell and other electronic devices makes those behind the wheel four times more likely be involved in crashes that cause serious injury or death.

In 2010, there were 3,092 people killed and 416,000 injured nationwide in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.

During 2012, Hawaii’s county police departments issued 20,905 distracted driving citations.

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According to the state Department of Health’s 2007-2012 Injuries in Hawaii report, inattentive or distracted drivers accounted for 8% of the 288 drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes from 2007-2010.

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