A law banning the use of cellphones while driving on the island of Hawaii goes into effect Jan. 1.

The penalty for violating the law is a fine of up to $150, but that penalty can increase to as much as $500 should the operation of a mobile electronic device lead to a collision.

Passed by the Hawaii County Council in August, ordinance 09-82A outlaws driving while operating a cellphone without a hands-free device, using texting devices, personal pagers, digital assistants, laptop computers, digital cameras or video games.

Audio equipment, electronics designed to help with navigation and video entertainment devices intended for back-seat passengers are not included in the ban.

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