WAILUKU - Mayor Charmaine Tavares signed into law Tuesday a bill that makes it illegal to use a cellular phone or other mobile electronic devices while driving.
Tavares' action makes Maui County the last in the state to enact a cell phone ban.
"With more drivers on our roads than ever before and motorists increasingly using unsafe practices like texting while driving - we find ourselves joining the state's other counties in enacting this new law," Tavares said in a news release.
"I want to thank our public for their cooperation in helping to keep our community safe," she said.
The law makes an exception for drivers with commercial licenses and operators of registered fleet vehicles using two-way radios on the job, and drivers using a hands-free device such as a headset. Teenage drivers, first-time drivers and individuals holding a learner's permit are not be allowed to use a hands-free device while driving.
There is a maximum fine of $100 for a first offense and a maximum fine of $250 for every subsequent offense.
Maui County Council Committee of the Whole Chairman Mike Molina said he believes that the measure will enhance the safety of all residents.
"We hope this law will be a deterrence to those who choose to use their cell phones while driving, placing themselves and the rest of us in danger," he said.
Council Member Joe Pontanilla introduced the bill, and council members gave final approval on June 18.
For a copy of the new ordinance, call the Office of the County Clerk at 270-7748.