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Distracted driving awareness

The Maui News / LILA FUJIMOTO photos

First photo: DUI Task Force officer Rahul Mehra issues a citation for a seat belt violation Tuesday morning on Alamaha Street in Kahului during stepped-up enforcement as part of the national “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” distracted driving awareness campaign, which continues through Sunday. Along with citing drivers seen talking or texting on cellphones, officers ticketed drivers for seat belt violations and other traffic offenses. “Our reason for being out here is simple,” said DUI Task Force Sgt. Nick Krau. “Using an electronic mobile device while operating a vehicle is dangerous and by reducing these violations, we are saving lives and making our roads safer for everyone. That’s our reason and this is important to us. Our goal isn’t to issue citations. Our goal is to achieve 100 percent voluntary compliance.” The fine for using a cellphone while driving is $297. A seat belt violation carries a fine of $102. Money from traffic fines goes to the state general fund. “The Maui Police Department enforces the state mobile electronic device law 365 days a year, but this week we are working with our law enforcement and transportation partners nationwide to raise awareness to distracted driving,” Krau said.

Second photo: DUI Task Force officer Caleb Guarriello watches for drivers using cellphones Tuesday morning on Alamaha Street in Kahului, while officers participate in the national “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” distracted driving awareness campaign.

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