Home >  Hawaii Cellular Phone Ordinances

This web page lists information about legislation in progress affecting mobile two-way radio operations in the City and County of Honolulu and the State of Hawaii. Click the REFRESH button on your web browser to get the latest version.


This page is currently work in progress. Last update, May 24, 10:00 pm. Update #132.

Previous updates on Feb 1, 2009 were 3:30 am, 9:00 am, 12:30 pm, 9:20 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm. Mon Feb 2 7:00 am. Feb 3, 12:45 am, 7:45 am, 10:00 pm. Feb 4, 9:15 pm. Feb 5, 9:30 pm, 10:40 pm. 11:40 pm. Feb 8, 9:45 pm. Feb 9, 10:30 pm. Feb 13, 4:20 am. March 9, 11:30 pm. March 12, 6:20 pm. March 15, 11:00 pm. March 16, 7:30 am. March 16, 7:30 pm. March 17, 3:20 am. March 18, 10:30 pm. March 19, 8:00 am. March 20, 3:00 am. March 20, 9:30 pm. March 21, 10:30 am. March 23, 8:30 pm. March 25, 3:40 am. March 26, 7:50 am. March 26, 10:40 pm. March 30, 9:00 pm. March 30, 10:15 pm. March 31, 6:10 am. March 31, 11:20 pm. April 1, 8:05 pm. April 2, 10:45 pm. April 3, 7:30 am. April 3, 11:30 pm. April 4, 6:20 am. April 6, 11:40 pm. April 7, 6:40 am. April 7, 7:00 pm. April 9, 9:40 pm. April 11, 1:20 am. April 13, 10:40 am. April 13, 2:10 pm. April 14, 9:10 pm. April 15, 7:25 am. April 16, 8:30 pm. April 17, 7:30 pm. April 19, 9:30 pm. April 21, 8:00 am. April 22, 9:20 pm. April 24, 12:25 am. April 24, 6:10 am. April 26, 8:10 pm. April 29, 10:15 pm. May 7, 11:00 pm. May 23, 1:45 am. June 4, 8:25 pm. June 5, 6:40 am. June 18, 9:40 pm. June 19, 5:55 am. June 26, 8:55 pm. July 1, 8:30 pm. July 7, 10:45 am.

October 17, 2009 2:00 pm. October 23, 7:15 am. October 24, 1:15 am.

January 7, 2010 11:40 pm, January 8, 11:40 pm. January 9, 5:00 pm. January 13, 10:00 pm. January 14, 4:30 am. January 15, 7:00 am. January 18, 4:10 am. 9:10 pm. 9:50 pm. January 23, 5:30 am. January 24, 1:00 am, 8:40 am. January 29, 12:40 am. 6:10 am. 10:10 pm. January 30, 6:10 am. January 31, 7:45 pm. February 1, 7:35 pm. February 3, 4:55 am. 10:30 pm. February 4, 11:00 pm. February 9, 7:00 am. February 17, 10:30 pm. February 19, 11:00 pm. February 20, 10:00 am. March 14, 10:30 am. May 7, 2:40 am. May 8, 6:00 am. May 15, 6:40 pm. May 28, 8:45 pm. 9:15 pm. May 30, 7:15 am. June 5, 2:40 am. June 20, 10:10 pm. June 30, 6:10 am, 11:10 pm. July 2, 7:00 am. July 6, 10:00 pm. July 7, 6:15 am.

May 13, 2011 7:00 am, July 21, 6:00 am.

January 30, 2013 4:00 am. February 15, 7:30 am. February 22, 11:00 pm. February 27, 11:45 am. March 1, 7:30 am. March 5, 6:00 pm. March 8, 5:30 am. March 14, 5:30 pm. March 19, 7:15 am. March 20, 10:15 pm. March 21, 80:00 pm. March 25 6:00 pm. March 28 10:15 pm. April 10, 5:00 am. April 25, 5:30 am. April 26, 1:50 am. April 29, 6:50 pm. May 20, 6:00 am. May 21, 1:00 pm. May 24, 10:00 pm.

Recent updates

1) The 2013 Hawaii State Legislature considered House Bill 980 HD2 SD2 that will override the county legislation on the use of mobile electronics while driving.

The bill has exemptions for the use of amateur radio and Part 90 Land Mobile radios in the course of the person's work. Amateur radio operators were encouraged to submit testimony in favor of the exemption for amateur radio.

The Governor signed the bill into law as Act 74 New on May 20, 2013. Star-Advertiser article It is suggested to print a copy of the PDF file and place it in the glove compartment of your vehicle. New

2) These counties (islands) have mobile cellular telephone restrictions, but amateur radio operations are exempt. Amateur radio operators are encouraged to have a copy of the ordinance in your vehicle glove compartment.

3) The Star-Advertiser featured an article on the results of the ordinances to date.

4) There is national cell phone bill in progress to force all states to create cell phone safety laws. If it passes, it will cause the Hawaii State Legislature to revisit the need for legislation. You can view an article at this link.

5) Amateur radio operators statewide in Hawaii provided the Governor with key, real-time tsunami information from their vehicles during the February 27, 2010 tsunami.

6) If you are interested in what traffic safety laws apply at the State level in Hawaii, you can get a quick overview at this Hawaii Revised Statute webpage. For the island of Oahu, you can view the Traffic Code at this Revised Ordinances of Honolulu webpage. For the Big Island, you can view the Traffic Code via this Hawaii County Code webpage.

Background

This effort started with City Council Bill 4 (2009) (first draft) which was broadly written to prohibit the use of a handheld or portable electronic device while operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway on the island of Oahu. Dennis WH6QN and Gordon KH6GL first brought the existence of this bill to light and was reported on the HAMRADIOHAWAII, HIHAM and EARC reflectors as of Saturday afternoon, January 31, 2009.

Since C&C Bill 4 was broadly written, it could prohibit the use of two-way mobile radio communications such as radio handie-talkies and installed mobile radios.

During the course of the weekend, discovery by citizens and amateur radio operators has revealed another Council Bill, and three other bills in the State Legislature as well as a list of information below. Because of the extent of these bills, it took a little while to formulate a strategy of how to approach our elected officials with education and constructive input. I recommend you educate yourself first thoroughly on this matter by reading all the bills, and the supporting information provided by the links. I also recommend you keep abreast of the status of the language of the bills, the status of the bills, and which committees are working on them.

A number of amateur radio operators who also work in government, industry, military and law enforcement collaborated to work with the Honolulu City Council (and State Legislature) to improve the language of bill(s) to craft legislation that promotes the envisioned results and avoids unintended consequences. It was recognized that the language in the various bills affected the use of two-way mobile radios in the daily operations in county government, State government, Federal government, commercial sector, public and private transportation services, tour companies, utility companies and a host of other industries, military and law enforcement beyond just county police. Limiting and banning the use of two-way mobile radios would have a detrimental effect on our worker productivity, business and economy.

The guiding principle is that the amateur radio operator community come together and unify, provide constructive suggestions for the language of the legislation, and provide informed and constructive community input into the legislative process. It requires testimonies from individuals to make constructive and effective changes happen in the proposed legislation.

2013 State Legislature Legislative Record

The 2013 Hawaii State Legislature considered House Bill 980 that overrides the county legislation on the use of mobile electronics while driving.

HB 980 has exemptions for the use of amateur radio and Part 90 Land Mobile radios in the course of the person's work. Amateur radio operators are encouraged to submit testimony in favor of the exemption for amateur radio.

You can look at these links for more information:

The bill was heard in the House Transportation Committee on Monday, February 11 at 10:00 am in Conference Room 309 and passed with amendments. K1HZM provided written testimony. HB 980 HD1 version passed second reading on the House floor for and referral to the House Judiciary committee. The JUD committee heard HB 980 on Tuesday, February 26 at 2:05 pm in Conference Room 325. AH6NN and AH6RH provided oral testimony. KH7MU, AH7P, AH6RH, KH6WEB provided written testimony. This bill was amended to the HB 980 HD2 version. This bill passed the House floor on its a third reading on March 5, and was transmitted to the Senate. It was assigned to the Senate TIA/JDL and WAM committees.

The Senate TIA/JUD committee heard HB 980 on Monday, March 18 at 1:15 pm in Conference Room 224. AH6RH and KH6WEB provided written testimony, and KH6W was in attendance. This bill was amended to the HB 980 SD1 version. The Senate Ways and Means Committee held public decision making on this bill on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 9:00 am in Conference Room 211, and passed the bill with amendments. KH7HO, KH6WEB supplied written testimony or comments. The Bill passed third reading in the Senate on April 9, and was transmitted to the House. The House initially disagreed with the Senate's version on April 11 and convened a conference committee. It subsequently reconsidered the disagreement on April 24 and passed final reading on April 25.

The bill was ratified in both the House and Senate and sent to the Governor for signature on April 29. Governor Neal Ambercrombie signed HB980 into law as Act 74 on May 20, 2013 at 11:30 am in his office. Star-Advertiser Article.

Action Plan Relating to Education

This section serves as talking points to help educate legislators regarding cellular telephones and the amateur radio service. These notes serve amateur radio operators in Hawaii and across the US who may be faced with testifying regarding mobile cellular telephone legislation.

Educate your legislator that Amateur Radio is the official name of the radio service given by the Federal Communications Commission because we do not derive income from the radio service. The name amateur does not reflect a less-than-professional character of the person as a technician/operator and a member of the community. Ask that amateur radio be exempt from the scope of this bill as it has in other locations.

Educate:

  • That the Amateur Radio Service exists as a public benefit as a reserve of trained operators and technicians, and has served in times of emergency including Hurricane Iniki, the October 15, 2006 Kiholo Earthquake and the two recent island-wide power outages.
  • The exemption for amateur radio promotes emergency communications in Hawaii is valuable, as it allows the installation of mobile amateur radio equipment in personal vehicles ahead of emergencies and disasters.
  • Mobile amateur radio played a valuable part in the real-time reporting received at Civil Defense agencies around the state during the tsunami of February 27, 2010.
  • Mobile amateur radio also was active during the Honshu-Tohoku quake/tsunami and the Queen Charlotte Island quake/tsunami.
  • The United States Congress, in 1994, in a Joint Resolution (S.J. Res. 90/H.J. Res. 199 (1994), in "recognizing the achievements of radio amateurs, and to establish support for such amateurs as national policy" found and declared, among other things, that: "reasonable accommodation should be made for the effective operation of amateur radio from residences, private vehicles and public areas, and that regulation at all levels of government should facilitate and encourage amateur radio operation as a public benefit."
  • Two states (New Jersey and Washington) specifically exempt amateur radio from it's statutes because they contain broad language such as "electronic communications device" and "wireless communications device" instead of specifying cellular telephones and text messaging devices. We're asking for the same exemption because of the similar broad language in Bill 4.
  • The record of safe operation (that there's been no known traffic incident on Oahu while actively engaging in a radio contact) doesn't warrant a restriction on amateur radio or other forms of two-way radio in this Bill. There is no evidence that there is a problem.
  • New Hampshire permits amateur radio in a motor vehicle.
  • Safe driving can be done with one hand on the wheel, as evidenced by those who drive with a standard manual shift transmission.
  • That the conversation on a two-way radio differs from a normal telephone, in that the conversation is paced and each side already understands that you must wait for the other party to finish before you can talk. Therefore, you're doing only one thing (talking OR listening) at a time.
  • Other people are listening, so you won't talk about items in conversations that would be excessively engaging, distracting or private. Amateur radio operators are prohibited from conducting business in the amateur radio bands. Therefore, more attention is given to driving than the conversation compared to cellular telephones.
  • That there's no dialing or other manual operation needed to initiate or close a radio contact. Just pick up the mike, press the PTT switch and talk. Let go of the button when you're done. No other buttons are involved. It is a much simpler device to operate than a standard shift vehicle.
  • That the handheld microphone allows you to give full eye contact with the road and surroundings, because you're holding the microphone below your visual field of view. We do not have to remove our eyes from the road as is the case with text messaging.
  • Holding the microphone to talk is a very small amount of the total time spent driving.
  • Experienced operators know to put down the microphone, or end the contact, if driving conditions warrant closer attention to driving.
  • That your ear is not obstructed by a listening device.
  • That the skills developed during times of normal operations greatly enhance the ability to meet the challenges of operating during emergency conditions. That it's no different than getting a drivers license, not be allowed to drive, then expect safe, flawless execution when someone has to be driven to the hospital for an emergency. We acquire the necessary skills and it's never been a problem as evidenced by the history of two-way radio operations long before the advent of cellular telephones.
  • Reemphasize that these factors contribute to safe driving skills as evidenced by the lack of a traffic safety problem with two-way radios.
  • Sprint and Verizon cell phones with PTT (Push-to-talk) features are cell phones. Cell phones are covered under the FCC rules for the "Commercial Mobile Radio Service" FCC Rules Part 20. These devices are available to the general public.
  • Nextel devices are two-way radios covered under the FCC rules for "Enhanced Specialized Mobile Radio Service (ESMR)". Nextel uses Motorola iDEN radio network equipment, which also has phone patch capabilities that enables phone services from the handset. These are not cell phones.
  • Traditional two-way radios are covered under other parts of the FCC Rules, such as the Private Land Mobile Services, Part 90 and are not available to and used by the general public.
  • Request that amateur radio operators be exempt from (affected cellular phone bill), and continue to operate with no restrictions as is the case now.

State Legislature, 2009 through 2012 Sessions

Gary WH6C suggested that rather than having a stand-alone bill for the City and County of Honolulu that differs from the practices on the Neighbor Islands, that the matter be tabled at the City Council and referred to the State Legislature to craft a uniform state-wide bill.

The proposed cell phone bills for the 2009 and 2010 legislative session all failed to pass. The summary on the bills in the 2009 and 2010 legislative session are in the inactive legislation section below.

No legislation was introduced and advanced in 2011 and 2012 that affected mobile cellular telephone restrictions.

The National Scene

It appears that Hawaii is one of the few states that does not have state-wide legislation addressing the use of cellular telephones in motor vehicles. See this web page for details as of February 2009.

The ARRL Executive Committee approved a policy statement January 30, and it contains model language for these types of bills with definitions, prohibited usage, and exclusions. See this PDF file.

The section below represents initial research on cellular phone/text messaging laws in other states and localities and is not an exhaustive search.

States that permit mobile amateur radio use

David KB1CX reports that it is legal in New Hampshire to operate amateur radio while mobile in New Hampshire. Thank you David for your report!

States that exclude amateur radio from cellphone/text messaging bills

Stacy WH7LH reports that New Jersey has language that excludes amateur radio because of the broad language of "electronic communications device".

Bev AH6NF reports that Washington State's cellphone law which has passed and is in effect excludes amateur radio because of the broad language of "wireless communications device".

The text of the law is at RCW 46.61.667

ARRL reports that Montana exempts amateur radio while mobile from distracted driver laws in Montana.

States with mobile cell phone laws

Ron AH6RH reports California has a law banning mobile cell phone use. You can read a FAQ, the mobile cellphone law, the mobile text-messaging law, and the under-18 years old law for California. Notice that the cell phone law specifically states "wireless telephone", and not the other broad language found in some of the bills proposed within Hawaii that complicates the legislation.

Ron AH6RH reports that California also has a law the permits the use of a portable, windshield mounted GPS unit, provided that it's in the corner of the windshield an not in the middle. See Vehicle Code 26708, (B) (12).

Ron AH6RH reports Connecticut, Sec 14-296aa has a law banning mobile cell phone use. It also includes language banning mobile electronic devices. Search for "Sec. 14-296aa".

Kentucky KRS 281A.205 has a law banning mobile telephone phone use for school bus drivers. Thanks Stacy WH7LH for the lead.

Ron AH6RH reports Maine MRS Title 29-A, Chapter 19, Subchapter 2, Section 2116 has a law banning mobile telephone use or handheld electronic devices for drivers under the age of 18.

David KB1PCX reports Massachusetts, Chapter 90: Section 7b has a law banning mobile cell phone use while driving a school bus.

David KB1PCX reports Massachusetts, Chapter 90: Section 13 has a law allowing citizens band radio and mobile telephone operation, provided one hand remains on the steering wheel at all times.

New York, Title 7 Article 33 - 1225C has a law banning mobile cell phone use. Thanks Ray AH6LT for the lead.

Randy KH6IB provides this Clifton Park, New York YNN news clip about a traffic ticket that was issued to an amateur radio operator.

North Carolina, Section 20-137.3 has a law banning mobile telephone phone use and additional technology associated with a mobile telephone for drivers under the age of 18. Thanks Randy AH6Q for the lead.

Ron AH6RH reports North Carolina, Section 20-137.4 has a law banning mobile telephone phone use and additional technology associated with a mobile telephone for school bus drivers.

Ron AH6RH reports Oregon, ORS 811.507 has a law banning "mobile communications device" for drivers under the age of 18.

Ron AH6RH reports The District of Columbia has a law banning mobile cell phone use. It also includes language banning mobile electronic devices. Search for "50-1731.04" (Restrictions) and "50-1731.02" (Definitions).

States disallowing local cellular phone laws

Ron AH6RH reports Utah has a law 41-6a-208 disallowing the local highway authority from restricting or prohibiting the use of cellular phones by the operator or passenger of a vehicle.

States with mobile text messaging laws

Ron AH6RH reports Alaska has a law banning mobile text messaging.

Ron AH6RH reports California has a law banning mobile text messaging.

David KB1PCX reports New Hampshire passed HB 34 on March 24, 2009 banning text messaging, to be effective January 1, 2010.

Ron AH6RH reports Virginia has a law banning mobile text messaging, effective 7/1/09.

States working on mobile cell phone / text messaging laws in 2009

These states appear be working on their mobile cell phone and/or text messaging laws in 2009.

States that do not appear to have cell phone or text messaging laws

These states appear to not have laws regulating cell phone or text messaging use by the general public. This list has not undergone extensive research, so these states may indeed have statutes tucked away within their legislative library.

States that do not have statutes online

These states appear to not have their statutes available online for research.

States not yet researched

If you have a moment, please take a look at these sites, research their cellphone laws and let me know the results.

Steve NH7ZD reported that the National Safety Council is calling for a nationwide ban on cell phone usage and texting while driving. See this web page.

As far as I know, a two-way mobile radio has never been a factor in a traffic fatality on Oahu. The radio operator is in control of the conversation, the radio equipment as well as the vehicle and can put down the microphone or walkie as needed and deal with traffic conditions.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Historical Section

This section has historical information on past legislative activities relating to mobile electronic devices in the State of Hawaii.

City Council (City and County of Honolulu) Bill 4

Wayne KH6MEI reported that Bill #4 was introduced in Council on January 28, 2009, authored by Rod Tam. The Honolulu Advertiser, the Honolulu Star Bulletin, provided media coverage.

Bill 4, CD2 FD1 was signed into law by Mayor Hannemann on May 7, 2009. The bill exempts mobile amateur radio operations.

You can track the official status of Bill 4, including the official draft versions on this web page.

Information on your Councilperson is found at this City Council's web page. You can also get additional information at the City Council's web page.

Results of the February 25, 2009 Council meeting - First Reading

Bill 4 (2009) received its first hearing at the February 25 Council meeting.

The Honolulu Advertiser, and the Honolulu Star Bulletin provided media coverage.

The Transportation and Planning Committee Meeting is visible on Olelo on Demand. You can "Jump To..." FIRST READING. The timeline is from 1:55:39 to 2:04:00.

Results of the March 5, 2009 Transportation and Planning committee meeting

Bill 4 (2009), Proposed CD1 was heard at the March 5 Transportation and Planning Committee meeting.

The Honolulu Advertiser, and the Honolulu Star Bulletin provided media coverage.

The Transportation and Planning Committee Meeting is visible on Olelo on Demand. You can "Jump To..." 8. Bill 4 (2009) Use of Electronic Devices. The timeline is from 2:00:07 to 2:39:55.

Results of the March 18, 2009 Council meeting - Second Reading

The following have submitted their written testimonies for Bill 4 (2009), CD1: KH6DAD, WH7GG, KH7HO, WH7HZ, AH6J, KH6JBS, WH7LH, AH6LT, WH7NA, N6NCT, AH6NF, AH6QO, WH7RB, AH6RH, WH7RH, KH7U, KH6W, NH6XO, N6ZBI, KH6ZZ.

Chuck N6NCT was instrumental in contacting amateurs on the air, and making them aware of the upcoming effects of Bill 4, and encouraged them to submit testimony.

The following amateur radio operators attended the Council meeting on March 18, 2009. KH6GL, AH6NF, KB1PCX, AH6QO, AH6RH, WH7QR, KH7U, KH6W, NH6XO, KH6ZZ. The testimony, question and answer portion of Bill 4, CD1 occupied about 1 hour, 20 minutes.

Testimony included:

  • The number of years of experience by the operators present.
  • Our active participation in emergency communications, as evidenced in past events.
  • The paced nature of conversations that's imposed by two-way radio and the PTT switch, so that there's no animated conversation to distract the driver.
  • Testimony by individuals and ARRL BOD that there's been no known traffic incident due to the use of amateur radio.
  • Testimony on the exemption stated in Washington State's law, including reference to the FCC license.
  • The commonality of equipment used by two-way radio services (ie, PTT mike, and not a handset).
  • In response to questions, that hands-free technology is available at a cost of several hundreds of dollars.
  • By the representative from the police department: That on being pulled over, if the operator produces a copy of his/her FCC license, that it would suffice as being enforceable if such an exemption was given.
  • By the representative from the prosecutor's office: That if a traffic ticket was issued, that attaching a copy of the FCC license to the ticket would suffice, if such as exemption was given.

Among the (paraphrased) questions asked were:

  • How does amateur radio differ from Nextel walkie operations (relative to traffic safety)? [Post-meeting answers]
    • A Nextel/Verizon Push-to-talk walkie can also function as a cellular phone. The amateur radio station functions only as a two-way radio.
    • The Nextel/Verizon Push-to-talk walkie requires several button pushes to switch back and forth with cellular telephone mode, which could be a visual distraction. The amateur radio station remains a two-way radio, requiring only the PTT switch to function and converse.
    • The Nextel/Verizon Push-to-talk walkie is available to the general public and does not require an examination or license to operate. The amateur radio station requires the control operator to pass an examination, and be federally licensed.
    • The amateur radio station can communicate directly with DEM and State CD, as opposed to the Nextel/Verizon PTT walkie, which does not have a direct radio connection.
    • Specifying "amateur radio station" within the language of the exemption distinguishes the particular piece of equipment exempted.
  • Can amateur radio operate with hands free technology and devices to permit two hands on the steering wheel?
  • To the representative from the Police Department and Prosecutors Office: Information regarding other states and jurisdictions that have exempted amateur radio from cellphone/texting traffic laws.

Among the (paraphrased) items expressed by various council members were:

  • A recognition that texting is distracting because the eyes are taken off the road.
  • The intent (of the bill) is to promote traffic safety.
  • A point that a police officer would not be able to readily distinguish an amateur radio operator from other types of radio operation.

The Honolulu Advertiser, the Honolulu Star Bulletin, and KHON provided media coverage.

Curtis, WH7QR reports that the Council Meeting is visible on Olelo on Demand. You can "Jump To..." CR-95, Bill 4, CD1

On March 25th, Council member Duke Bainum sent an email to ten amateurs who submitted testimony and testified at the City Council hearing on March 18th that he was "very impressed with your testimonies and have asked the committee chair to entertain amending the bill". Duke Bainum sent a memo dated March 23 to the Committee Chair stating his request to include an exemption for "amateur radio operators using two-way radios". Council member Bainum writes: "I found the testifiers comment very compelling and in order to accommodate their service to the community I would support this exemption from the ban on the operation of mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle." Thank Duke Bainum for his support of amateur radio.

[Note: The wide variety of individual testimonies made an impressive and compelling history of the public and emergency service performed by amateur radio operators on the island of Oahu. It was Bart WH6AA that gave the guidance and counsel to achieve this mind share with the Council.]

Amateurs Wayne KH6MEI, Ron AH6RH and Kimo KH7U met with Council Member Okino and assistant Frank Streed on March 30, and had a positive, productive session.

Ron AH6RH happened upon Councilman Duke Bainum at a public function on Saturday, April 4, 2009. In the brief conversation, Duke acknowledged that [the legislative process is] "a matter of education, and once I went through the written testimony, I found it [the case for amateur radio] very compelling." Ron thanked Duke for his support of amateur radio.

Results of Transportation and Planning Committee Meeting, April 9th

The following have submitted their written testimonies for the Bill 4 (2009), Proposed CD2: KH6MEI, WH7LH, AH6NF, KB1PCX, WH7QR, AH6RH, NH6RZ, KH7U, KH6ZZ.

The following amateur radio operators attended the Transportation and Planning Committee meeting on April 9, 2009. KH6GL, AH6NF, N7WAP, NH6XO.

Bev, AH6NF reports that the Transportation and Planning Committee Meeting is visible on Olelo on Demand. You can "Jump To..." 5., Bill 4, CD1. The session spans from timeline 46:57 to 2:12:26.

Testimony included:

  • There seemed to be a general favor of those presenting testimony that Okino's version was preferred, including representatives from HECO and the Police Department.
  • Council member Apo asked if the amateur radio operators held a device to their ear while operating a two-way radio, and the testimony was no, generally, the microphone is held near the mouth, and not near the ear.
  • Council member Apo asked if the amateur radio operators were agreeable with exempting all two-way radio, and they were.

Among the (paraphrased) items expressed by various council members were:

  • If there was a ready way of identifying vehicles with amateur radio, such that the driver would not be incorrectly pulled over. The specially designated license plates were mentioned.
  • The discipline, training and licensing of two-way radio operators were factors of interest and consideration to them.

The preferred version was Okino's proposal with the exemption for amateur radio and the definition of operating a vehicle referencing Hawaii Revised Statute (HRS 291 E-1). The version passed, and will be presented to Council for the Third Reading.

Bob, NH6XO reports that the original DOT Federal study on driver inattention cited by the representative from the Prosecutor's office (DOT HS 810 594 April 2006 The Impact of Driver Inattention On Near-Crash/Crash Risk) is visible at this web site.

The Honolulu Star Bulletin provided media coverage.

Council Meeting April 22 - Third Reading

Bill 4, CD2 FD1 passed Third Hearing on Wed Apr 22, 10:38 am at the City Council Chambers at the third floor of Honolulu Hale. The bill requires hands-free cellular telephone devices while driving a vehicle on the island of Oahu starting July 1, 2009. The bill exempts mobile amateur radio operations.

The following have submitted their written testimonies for Bill 4, CD2 FD1: WH7BH, WH7BTE, KC6CBB, AH6CP, WH6CPD, KH6DAD, WH7GG, KH6GL, KH7GN, N6GOZ, KH6IB, KH6IRT, WH7LH, KH6MEI, KH6MG, KH6MP, N6NCT, AH6NM, KH6OM, AH6RH, AH6RN, KH7RM, KH7RN, WH6TP, AH6TW, NH6TY, WH6UG, WH7ZB, NH7ZD, KH6ZZ.

A petition letter signed by 30 amateurs is visible at this link.

The following amateur radio operators attended the Council meeting on April 22, 2009. KH6GL, AH6RH, N7WAP.

The Council Meeting is visible on Olelo on Demand. You can "Jump To..." CR-129 Bill 4, CD2. The session spans from timeline 1:18:15 to 1:35:38.

The Honolulu Star Bulletin provided media coverage before the event.

The Honolulu Star Bulletin, Honolulu Advertiser, KHON, KITV and KHNL provided media coverage on April 22.

The Honolulu Star Bulletin, Honolulu Advertiser and KHNL provided media coverage on April 23.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports in the April 23rd article: "Most of those who showed up to testify on the measure during the hearing process were amateur radio operators, who successfully lobbied for an exemption allowing them to use their equipment when at the wheel."

Amateur Radio Newsline featured the exemption in it's May 1, 2009 weekly report.

Bill 4 was signed into law by Mayor Hannemann on May 7, 2009. The Honolulu Star Bulletin, Honolulu Advertiser and KITV and KGMB provided media coverage on May 7.

No grace period will be given. Read the motoring public's reaction. KHON and KITV provided coverage.

You can read the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) at the Honolulu Police Department web page.

Hawaii County Legislation

Bob AH6J reports that the Hawaii Tribune reports on Saturday, April 11 the Council of Hawaii County is considering a cellular telephone bill.

The text for Bill 66 CD2 can be found on this web page. This draft DOES have a provision to exempt amateur radio.

The meeting of the Hawaii County Council Public Safety and Parks and Recreation Committee was held in Hilo on Tuesday, May 19 at 3:00 pm. The Chairperson of the Public Safety Committee is Guy Enriques. A view of the the actions taken shows that action on Bill 66 was deferred to the May 19th PSPRC meeting. Bill 66 has been amended to include an exemption for amateur radio and has been amended to a CD2 version to be effective January 1, 2010. It passed PSPRC.

The Hawaii Tribune provided media coverage.

Bill 66 CD2 passed the Second and Final hearing. Second reading occurred on June 16th. See Page 10.

The West Hawaii Today provided media coverage.

Mayor Kenoi signed Bill 66 into law on Friday, June 26, 2009. You can get a softcopy of Ordinance 09-82A at this link.

The Honolulu Advertiser, Hawaii Tribune-Hereald, West Hawaii Today and provided media coverage.

You can also get additional information at the Hawaii County Council's web page.

A PDF file containing instructions and deadlines on submitting testimony can be found at this link. In addition to written testimony, public testimony can be provided during meetings from three videoconferencing centers located at the (a) Council Chambers in Hilo, (b) Kona Council Office, or (c) Waimea Council Office.

Kauai County Legislation

The Garden Island reports on Oct 15 that the Kauai County Councilperson Derek Kawakami intends to submit a cellular telephone bill. Kauai County Council introduced a hands-free cellular telephone bill on November 4, 2009 and published Bill 2336 in the Gorden Island newspaper on November 12, 2009.

The first public hearing and testimony was conducted on December 2, 2009. See the committee meeting minutes. No amateur radio representation was present at that meeting.

Bill 2336 was amended on December 9, 2009 into Draft 1 by narrowing the exemption for two-way radio communications by vehicle drivers with work related duties from regular drivers to drivers with CDL (Commercial Drivers License) driving commercial vehicles. This was reported by The Garden Island Newspaper No amateur radio representation was present at that meeting.

The text of the amendment for two-way radio read:

(3) Commercial Drivers using two-way radios while in the performance and scope of their work-related duties.
(d) As used in this section: "Commercial Driver" means a person who possesses a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) as defined in Section 286-2 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) and who is operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle as defined in HRS 286-2.

According to HRS 286-2:

"Commercial motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property:

(1) If the vehicle has a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds;

(2) If the vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds;

(3) If the vehicle is designed to transport sixteen or more occupants, including the driver; or

(4) If the vehicle, regardless of size, is used in the transportation of hazardous materials, as defined in this section.

This differs from the text used on Oahu, the Big Island, and is under consideration for Maui:
"Drivers using two-way radios while in the performance and scope of their work-related duties"

Bill 2336, Draft 1 impacts drivers on Kauai using two-way radios in the course of their work that are exempted on other islands. Worker categories affected include taxi drivers, delivery vans, utility workers (electric, phone, water, gas), State and Federal workers driving fleet cars equipped with government radios (lifeguards, public works, roads and highways, airport and harbor operations, government officials, etc), the military, National Guard, County, the American Red Cross during relief operations.

Kauai's definition of "Operate" a motor vehicle differs from the version on Oahu, the Big Island, and is under consideration for Maui. Kauai's definition is: "Operate a motor vehicle" means to drive or assume actual physical control of a vehicle upon a public way, street, road, or highway.

Oahu's definition is: "Operate" a motor vehicle means the same as is defined in HRS Section 291E-1. You can read the HRS text at this link.

Kauai hams were notified Thursday, January 7 and about 15 hams meet on Saturday morning, January 9 to further develop the action plan. The meeting was held about 3:00 pm at the Historic County Building, Room 201 at 4396 Rice St. Amateur radio operators were encouraged to submit written testimony by Monday morning, January 11, and to attend and testify at the Committee meeting on January 13.

Bill 2336, Draft 1 was reconsidered by the Public Safety/Energy/Intergovernmental Relations Committee on Wed, January 13, 2010. A number of hams attended the Committee meeting around 3:00 pm on Wed January 13, 2010, and Jerry KH6HU testified. AH6RH provided written testimony. Bill 2336, Draft 1 was amended to Draft 2 by increasing the maximum amount of the fine was amended from $50 to $100 and passed the Public Safety/Energy/Intergovernmental Relations Committee. Garden Island 01/14/2010 article. The text of the exemption for amateur radio is the same as on the other islands. No other information is available as of this time regarding the changes from Draft 1 to Draft 2.

Bill 2336 Draft 2 went to the full Kauai Council for a final hearing and vote on Thursday, January 21, and was deferred for additional reconsideration on the impact to Kauai County workers. See The Garden Island January 24, 2010 article. and The Garden Island February 3, 2010 article. The Garden Island February 2, 2010 article lists various Kauai County agencies that use two-way radios and/or have Commercial Drivers licenses. AH6RH provided testimony via email.

At the February 3rd Council hearing, the Kauai Council passed Bill 2336 with amendments (Draft 4). It considers adds language distinguishing between a two-way radio and cellular telephones, and allows exemptions for two-way radio for workers and amateur radio operators. AH6RH provided testimony via email. The Bill 2336 Draft 4 was signed into law by the Mayor on February 23, 2010 and Kauai Ordinance #892 took effect on May 23, 2010.

Maui County Legislation

Mel KH6H reports on Oct 10, 2009 that the Maui County Council is considering a cellular telephone bill. Maui News article has details.

The Committee of the Whole hearing was held on Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 9:00 am and the matter was deferred. See The Maui News Article. AH6RH submitted written testimony.

The Maui County Council reconsidered the bill at the May 12, 2010 9:00 am Maui Council Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting. There have been amendments to the original version.

"Correspondence dated May 4, 2010, from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole, transmitting proposed amendments to the proposed bill. The proposed amendments would clarify that exempt drivers who use a two-way radio while in the performance and scope of their work-related duties must either be operating a fleet vehicle or possess a commercial vehicle license; clarify that portable audio or navigation equipment is included within the definition of a mobile electronic device; and add a new section to prohibit teenage drivers from using hands-free technology." Read the Maui News May 7 update.

The first reading of the current bill, COW 10-49 is scheduled for Maui Council meeting, Friday June 4, 2010.

The bill limits drivers using two-way radios while in the performance and scope of their work-related duties, and who:

The Maui County Council had it's first reading of Bill 09-290/COW 10-49 on Friday, June 4, 2010 at the Maui Council Chambers. Maui News. Testimony submitted by Darren Strand of Haliimaile Pineapple Co indicated that the restrictions on the use of two-way radio affects their operations.

The Maui County Council passed it's mobile cellular telephone bill at it's second hearing on Friday, June 18, 2010. See The Maui News Article. The scheduled effective date is July 1, 2010, and the bill awaits the mayor's signature. Maui County has a restriction on two-way radios limiting it to commercial vehicles, fleet vehicles, or drivers with commercial drivers license.

Mayor Taveres intends to sign the bill on July 6, 2010 according to the Maui County web site, Maui News and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Taveres signed Ordinance 3753 on July 6, 2010 according to Mayor Tavares's press release, Committee of the Whole Chair Michael J. Molina's press release, Maui News and Hawaii News Now/KHNL/KGMB.

Inactive Bills

Due to the volume of previous legislative activity, the bills that are no longer active are captured in this section.

City Council Bill 67 (2008), FD1 vetoed by the Mayor

Dan KH6DAN found a KITV report and a KHNL report of an Associated Press report that the bill has passed City Council. The Honolulu Advertiser on Jan 16 reports that a bill was introduced. Thanks Dan for the report.

Stacy WH7LH found this KHON2 Report that Charles Djou authored the measure before the Mayor.

Ron AH6RH found 2008 Council Bill 67 (2008), FD1. This bill affects the use of certain APRS devices, and messaging devices used in government, commercial and other vehicles that use fleet dispatching systems. The Mayor vetoed the bill on Feb 12, 2009.

Dick NH7RS reports that Charles Djou is on Rick Hamada's program KHVH radio (AM 830) on Tuesdays from 7:05 to 8:00 am, and takes call-ins.

Honolulu County Bill 43 (2011)

The Honolulu City Council introduced Bill 43 regulating the use of mobile electronic devices (cellphones) while crossing a street or highway in the City and County of Honolulu. You can view the legislation at City Council Web Page.

The bill passed first reading on May 13, 2011 and was referred to the Committee on Safety, Economic Development And Government Affairs.

2009 and 2010 State Legislature

This section is left as a record of the 2009 and 2010 legislative sessions.

Wayne KH6MEI reports that the Governor has previously introduced legislation in the 2009 session banning cellphone use by teenage drivers, and provides this Star Bulletin article.

Senate Bill SB 2755 SD2 was recommitted to the JGO committee on March 2, 2010 over concerns about unresolved issues in the bill, primarily involving restrictions on the use of two-way radios for work purposes not present in the original Honolulu ordinance. The bill is unlikely to advance further this session and is considered dead.

House Bills HB2225, HB2602, and HB2785 failed to make it to First Decking to prepare for a House vote for pass onto the Senate. These bills are dead for this sesssion.

House Bill 14

Ron AH6RH reports on House Bill 14. Originally intended to address cellphone use by teenage drivers. This bill is of greater concern to amateur radio operators as it has broad scope and has language in it that would restrict wireless electronic communications device while operating a motor vehicle. It appears that the current draft of the bill has deleted the restriction on age aimed at banning cell phone use by teenagers, so all cell phone activity without a hands free unit is restricted. It would also restrict the installation of an LCD screen in the driver's compartment, which would affect mobile radio installations. The conditions for this proposed bill is quite lengthy, so you should read the text for yourself. You can track the status at this link.

House Bill 15

Bart WH6AA reports on House Bill 15. Outlaws text messaging while operating a motor vehicle and drivers' use of handheld cell phones. There's other conditions, so read the text of the bill for details. You can track the status at this link.

House Bill 143

Bart WH6AA reports on House Bill 143. Prohibits the use of a mobile telephone while driving unless equipped with a hands-free accessory and being used in the hands-free mode. Exempts mobile radios. Prohibits transit drivers from using cellular phones whenever their vehicle is in motion. There's other conditions, so read the text of the bill for details. You can track the status at this link. 2/20/09 Passed Second Reading as amended in HD 1 and referred to the committee(s) on JUD with none voting no (0) and Bertram, McKelvey, Takai, Takumi, Tokioka excused (5).

House Bill 223

Bart WH6AA reports on House Bill 223. Prohibits the use of mobile telephones without hands free accessories while operating a motor vehicle. Prohibits the use of electronic wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle. Sets forth exemptions. There's other conditions, so read the text of the bill for details. You can track the status at this link.

House Bill 502

Bart WH6AA reports on House Bill 502. Prohibits driving minors from engaging in secondary tasks that distract from driving such as: the use of all cell phones other electronic devices; consuming food or beverages; engaging in personal grooming; or reaching for any object; while operating a motor vehicle under either a temporary instruction permit or a provisional license. There's other conditions, so read the text of the bill for details. You can track the status at this link.

House Bill 2225

Ron AH6RH reports on House Bill 2225 which makes it unlawful to use a mobile communication device while operating a vehicle with exceptions for emergency responders, two-way radios used for work-related purposes, and licensed radio operators. There's other conditions, so read the text of the bill for details. You can track the status at this link. Bart WH6AA reports that there are defects in the title of the Bill and other matters that this bill is not likely to pass.

The first hearing was held on Monday, Feb 1, 2000 9:00 am in Rm 309. WH6AA and AH6J supplied oral testimony. WH6AA, KH7HO, NH7L, AH6RH, WH7ZB, KH6H submitted written testimony. You can see the written testimony at this link. HB 2225 was amended to the HD1 draft which limits the use of two-way radios for work to fleet vehicles and commercial vehicles, similar to HB 2602 and SB 2755. The TRN Committee report on HB2225 added the commercial vehicle requirements for the use of two-way radio. The bill passed with amendments. The bill was not heard in the House Judiciary Committee.

House Bill 2602

Ron AH6RH reports House Bill 2602 which makes it unlawful to use a mobile communication device while operating a vehicle with exceptions for emergency responders, two-way radios used for work-related purposes, and licensed radio operators. This bill limited the use of two-way radios for work purposes to fleet vehicles and commercial vehicles. You can track the status at this link.

The first hearing was held on Wednesday, Feb 3, 2010 9:00 am in Rm 309. AH6RH, NH7L, KH6H, KH7HO, WH6AA, WH7GG, KH6XL, AH6NF submitted written testimony for amateur radio. KH6MEI, KH7U and AH6RH provided written testimony regarding the limitations on two-way radio. KH7U and AH6RH provided oral testimony. The committee amended HB2602 and forwarded it to the House JUD committee. The verbal report from the chair indicated that the committee adopted the Department of Transportation and Honolulu Prosecutor's recommendation to decriminalize the offense. The chair also indicated the committee would adopt language favorable for the use of two-way radios in small as well as large vehicles.

The TRN Committee report on HB2602 removed the commercial vehicle requirements for the use of two-way radio and adopted the DOT recommendation to decriminalize the offense.

HB 2602 has been been amended to the HD1 draft. The bill passed with amendments. It was not heard by the JUD committee.

House Bill 2785

Ron AH6RH reports House Bill 2785 which makes it unlawful to use a mobile communication device while operating a vehicle with exceptions for emergency responders, two-way radios used for work-related purposes, and licensed radio operators. There's other conditions, so read the text of the bill for details. You can track the status at this link.

No hearing date/time has been set as of yet.

Senate Bill 13

Senate Bill 13 seeks to ban drivers from using cell phones without a hands-free attachment. Would outlaw text messaging for all drivers. There's other conditions, so read the text of the bill for details. You can track the status at this link.

Senate Bill 250

Bart WH6AA reports Senate Bill 250 would ban text messaging and emailing by all drivers. There's other conditions, so read the text of the bill for details. You can track the status at this link.

Senate Bill 249

Bev AH6NF reports Senate Bill 249 is intended to address cellular or mobile telephones, text message or email device. There's other conditions and fines listed, so read the text of the bill for details. You can track the status at this link.

Senate Bill 275

Bart WH6AA reports Senate Bill 275 would prohibit drivers from using cell phones not equipped for hands-free use. Provides for forfeiture of violators' cell phones. There's other conditions, so read the text of the bill for details. You can track the status at this link.

Senate Bill 760

Bev AH6NF reports that two Senate bills address cellular telephone usage while driving motor vehicles. Senate Bill 760 is intended to address cellular telephones, but may also be construed to affect commercial mobile radio services as defined in the Code of Federal Regulations Part 47, Section 20.3 and could affect SMR radio services. There's other conditions, so read the text of the bill for details. You can track the status at this link.

Senate Bill 976

Bart WH6AA reports Senate Bill 976 Drivers under the age of 18 with restricted licenses would be banned from a range of distracted driving behaviors, including use of electronic devices and making cell phone calls (regardless of whether a hands-free device is employed). There's other conditions, so read the text of the bill for details. You can track the status at this link.

Senate Bill 1054

Bart WH6AA reports Senate Bill 1054 had crossed over from the Senate to the House. It prohibits the use of "other electronic device". It did not make Second Decking, so this bill was dead for 2009. You can track the status at this link.

Senate Bill 2755

Ron AH6RH reports Senate Bill 2755 which makes it unlawful to use a mobile communication device while operating a vehicle with exceptions for emergency responders, two-way radios used for work-related purposes, and licensed radio operators. This bill limited the use of two-way radios for work purposes to fleet vehicles and commercial vehicles. You can track the status at this link.

The first hearing was held on Wednesday, Feb 3, 2010 2:05 om in Rm 224. AH6RH, NH7L, KH6H, KH7HO, WH6AA, WH7GG, KH6XL, AH6NF submitted written testimony for amateur radio. No amateurs were present for the oral testimony. KH6MEI and AH6RH provided written testimony regarding the limitations on two-way radio. You can see the written testimony at this link. The TIA Committee report on SB27755 modified the commercial vehicle requirements for the use of two-way radio and adopted the DOT recommendation to decriminalize the offense. The TIA committee amended SB2755 to the SD1 draft and forwarded it to the Senate JGO committee. The Senate JGO Public Decision Making was be held on Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:00 am in Rm 016. The JGO Committee report on SB27755 added an exemption for public utility vehicles. At the Senate Caucus hearing on March 2, 2010, concerns were expressed about the unresolved issues and the bill was recommitted to the JGO committee.

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February 1, 2009 Updated: May 24, 2013

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