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Hawaii Legislature Proposes New Laws Governing Roadway Safety

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Many accident injuries can be attributed entirely to the negligent driver who caused the crash. That said, there are steps that every roadway occupant can take to reduce the risk of injury when accidents occur, such as using the seatbelt when riding in a motor vehicle. The Hawaii state legislature has recently introduced several bills that would make it illegal not to take certain safety measures while on the road in Hilo or elsewhere in Hawaii. Read on to learn about the potential new safety laws, and contact a Kailua-Kona personal injury lawyer if you’ve been injured in a Hawaii car accident.

Law would ban riding in pickup bed

Among the new bills currently before the state Senate is one that proposes limiting the occasions that people may ride in uncovered pickup truck beds. Currently, Hawaii law prevents passengers from riding in pickup beds unless there are no other seats available, the passengers remain seated, and the bed is secure. Should the current Senate bill become law, passengers would only be allowed to ride in a pickup bed if they’re riding in a legal parade, or if the passenger’s life is in danger. While many who live in farming communities in rural areas rely on transporting passengers in pickup beds, this practice puts passengers at serious risk of injury. According to Sgt. Robert Pauole of the Hawaii Police department, “a person back there is completely vulnerable.” Pauole noted that a lack of seat belts increases the risk to passengers of suffering a fatal injury by 45%.

Helmets potentially mandatory for all motorcyclists and bicyclists

Another bill currently before the Senate calls for all bicycle or motorcycle operators and passengers to wear helmets while on the road. Currently, only riders under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet while riding. Legislative staffers have noted that helmets reduce fatalities among motorcycle riders by 42%, and traumatic brain injuries by 69%. Ellsworth Fontes, owner of Ellsworth’s Custom Cycles in Hilo, believes that the law would get a cold reception among serious riders. “If it does pass, I think a bunch of riders would give up riding entirely.” This is not the first time that Hawaii lawmakers have considered making helmet use mandatory, and whether or not the bill will find success this term is unclear.

If you’ve been injured in a Hawaii auto or motorcycle accident, get seasoned and dedicated legal help in seeking damages for your injuries by contacting the Hilo personal injury lawyer Louis P. Mendonca for a free consultation at 808-961-6690.

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