Governor signs bills aimed at increasing safety on Hawaiʻi roads
Hawaiʻi Gov. Josh Green on Thursday signed seven bills aimed at enhancing safety on the state’s roadways, as well as the safety of those using them.
“In just the first six months of 2023, we have already seen 43 traffic fatalities,” Green said in a press release. “This is unacceptable and should not be occurring. We need these numbers to go down so our communities will be safer and we can prevent losing more lives to preventable tragedies.”
However, the governor stressed that enacting these new laws alone won’t solve the problems.
“We need everyone to commit to making our roads safer by following the laws that are in place as well as the new laws being enacted,” Green said in the release. “We can make Hawaiʻi’s communities safer if people just follow the law.”
Big Island Rep. Chris Todd, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, is pleased with the progress made this year on some of the most critical issues on the state’s roadways, but said there’s a lot of work to be done to reimagine how people get from point A to point B in the islands.
“These bills will help lay the foundation for a safer and more efficient transportation future,” Todd said in the press release.
The bills Green signed Thursday were:
Effective as of July 1, this measure renamed the State Highway Safety Council to the State Highway Safety and Modernization Council. It also amends the composition and duties of the council.
This bill allows for the renewal of driver’s licenses online in addition to by mail effective July 1, 2025.
This measure establishes the Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee and requires the committee to develop a comprehensive, statewide Safe Routes to School Plan. The bill also amends the duties of the Hawai’i Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School Program.
SB497 prohibits certain oversized commercial vehicles from driving in the far left lane on roadways with three or more lanes for traffic moving in the same direction, subject to certain exceptions. The measure takes effect Jan. 1, 2024.
HB118 clarifies that each county can, by ordinance, designate certain sections of county highways as areas in which stopping, standing or parking vehicles is prohibited or restricted. The measure also provides that any federal or state agency authorizing a road closure shall supersede a county ordinance.
This bill repeals the exemption relating to the issuance of citations for violations of state law relating to vehicle gross weight, axle and wheel loads.
This measure amends the state law relating to vehicle weight violations by replacing the fine schedule and increasing the potential fines based on multitude and magnitude of vehicle weight violations.