‘U Drive U Text U Pay’ Campaign Begins Thursday
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.