East Hawaii News

‘U Drive U Text U Pay’ Campaign Begins Thursday

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Big Island police will join their counterparts nationwide beginning tomorrow in a campaign to increase enforcement of distracted-driving laws.

“U Drive U Text U Pay” is designed to raise awareness about the safety risks of certain activities while driving.

Police note that a distraction is anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, mind off the road or hands off the wheel.

“Any distraction that diverts a driver’s attention from the primary tasks of maneuvering the vehicle and responding to critical events increases the driver’s risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash,” a department release said.

According to the US Department of Transportation, in 2012, 421,000 people were injured and more than 3,000 killed in crashes involving a distracted driver.

A state law enacted on July 1, 2013 makes it illegal to use cellular phones and other mobile electronic devices while operating a vehicle. Activities specifically prohibited include hand-held phone calls, texting, instant messaging, gaming and e-mailing.

Under the 2013 law, first-time violators of the law are subject to a fine of $100 to $200. Fines are doubled for violations occurring in school zones or construction areas.

The “U Drive U Text U Pay” campaign will run through April 15.


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