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New seatbelt law applies to backseat passengersUPDATED 4:51 AM HST May 21, 2013Video Transcript
New tonight-- Seatbelts aren't just for drivers and shotgun passengers anymore... As of today... EVERYONE in the car needs to buckle up. Don't agree? Have your checkbook ready! And while you're at it... Stash that cell phone, too.. KITV4's Brenton Awa breaks down TWO new laws... :11 :30 :51-:55 1:11 H-P-D Captain Darren Izumo says he's been to well over 500 fatal and critical accident scenes in Hawaii. He's seen more than his share of back-seat passengers who didn't buckle up. 16:53 "PROPERLY WORN SEAT- BELTS SAVE LIVES, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, I'VE SEEN IT FIRST HAND." Hawaii has one of the highest seat belt usage rates in the nation.. But Izumo says HPD still issued over 8,000 seat belt citations last year. A new law requires all front and back seat occupants to buckle up. 27:47 "YOU'RE GOING TO SAVE LIVES, YOU'RE GOING TO STOP THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK FROM BECOMING MISSILES, AND YOU'RE GOING TO CUT DOWN ON YOUR COSTS. Those costs refer to medical charges. The Department of Health says back seat passengers NOT wearing their seat belts had medical costs that nearly tripled those who took a moment to fasten in. The law goes into effect today... STAND-UP 45:54 "SO THE NEXT TIME YOU'RE OUT FOR A DRIVE." 50:06 "YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK YOUR REAR VIEW MIRROR." 46:08 "NOW EVEN UN-BUCKLED PASSENGERS CARRY A $92 FINE EACH." 47:30 "AND THE TICKET GOES RIGHT BACK TO THE DRIVER." A driver we spoke to recognizes the importance of wearing seat belts -- but doesn't think drivers should get a ticket if their passengers aren't careful. 44:38 "IT SHOULDN'T BE MY RESPONSIBILITY NECESSARILY AS A DRIVER DEPENDING ON HOW OLD THE PASSENGERS ARE." NATS-GOVERNOR SIGNING 1st Bill - 11:00 "DONE..." The Governor also signed a bill to ban the use of electronic devices while driving. While counties already had "distractive driving laws" in place.. There was no universal state law. The law will go into effect July 1st and under it -- violators can face a penalty of between 100- and-200-dollars for first time offenders. If caught in a school or construction zone.. The fine is doubled. 17:59 "WE'RE NOT TRYING TO PUNISH ANYBODY, WE'RE TRYING TO GET PEOPLE TO COMPLY WITH THE LAW, EDUCATE THEM." Another educational tip... Violate the distracted driving law twice in a year -- and the fine can go up to three-hundred- dollars. A third violation over a span of two years -- can cost you up to five-hundred dollars.