Hawaii New Resident Guide

Welcome to Hawaii! As a new driver to this state you will need to be aware of our unique traffic laws and regulations. Here's what you need to keep in mind while driving in Hawaii. Some of these rules may be the same as what you're already used to, but others will be drastically different!

Licensing and Residency Requirements

  • If the holder of a license changes residence or his or her name, the licensee must notify the examiner of drivers, in writing, of the person's old and new addresses, or former and new name, within 30 days of the change; failure to comply with these rules carries a fine of not more than $25.
  • If the address or name of the registered owner of a vehicle is changed from that stated on the application or the certificate of registration, the registered owner must notify the appropriate county finance director, in writing, within 30 days of the change; when the name of the registered owner is changed, along with the notification of such change, the registered owner must submit the certificate of ownership, the current certificate of registration, and proof of the change of name.
  • You can drive in the state of Hawaii with a valid license from another U.S. state. If you wish to transfer your current license, you must pass a written test and eye exam. An expired out of state license is not transferable and requires the successful completion of both written and road tests.
  • You may drive your vehicle registered in another state in Hawaii if you obtain an Out-of-State Vehicle Permit, until the Out-of-State Permit expires or your vehicle's registration expires, whichever comes first. Alternatively, you may choose to transfer your registration to the appropriate Hawaiian county right away.

Graduated Licensing Program

Learner's Permit


  • Must be at least 15 and 6 months.

Intermediate License


  • Must be at least 16 years old;
  • Must have held learner's permit for at least 6 months;
  • Must have at least 50 hours of driving practice, including 10 hours at night.

Privileges and Restrictions

  • During this stage, teens may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. (exceptions include driving to and from work or authorized school activities).
  • Transportation of more than 1 passenger under age 18 who is not a family member also is prohibited during this stage.
  • Teen drivers must remain free of convictions for traffic related offenses and may not be at fault for any crashes in order to progress in the graduated licensing program.

Unrestricted License


  • Must be at least 17 years old, and have held provisional license for 6 months OR have turned 18.

Violation Point Counts

The amount of points that go against your driver's license for specific types of violations.

Hawaii does not have a point system, but traffic violations are still recorded on your driving record.

Insurance Requirements

  • Every owner of a car, bus or truck must have motor vehicle insurance in order to register or operate a vehicle in the State.
  • The basic benefits include up to $10,000 per person for: Medical and rehabilitative expenses;
  • It includes liability coverage of $20,000 per person with an aggregate limit of $40,000 per accident for bodily injury and $10,000 for property damage per accident.
  • (NOTE: Damage to your own car will not be covered unless you have additional insurance coverage.)

Headlight Laws

Do not use your high beam head lamps when approaching or following other vehicles.

You must use your headlights:

  • 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise;
  • When heavy rain reduces your visibility.

There is no specific law allowing or prohibiting headlight flashing.

Implied Consent Laws

Persons Under 21

  • First Alcohol Enforcement Contact - Suspension - 12 months.
  • Second Alcohol Enforcement Contact - Suspension - Not less than 2 years and not more than 5 years.

21 and over

  • First Offense - Revocation - 2 years.
  • Second Offense (within 5 years) - Revocation - 3 years.
  • Third Offense (within 5 years) - Revocation - 4 years.
  • Fourth or Subsequent Offense (within 10 years) - Revocation - 10 years.

DUI Penalties

First Offense

  • 48 hours - 5 days imprisonment.
  • $150 - $1,000 fine.
  • Up to 72 hours community service.
  • 1 year license revocation.
  • 14 hour substance abuse rehabilitation program.

Second Offense (within 5 years)

  • 5 days - 14 days imprisonment.
  • $500 - $1,500 fine.
  • At least 240 hours community service.
  • 18 months - 2 years license revocation.
  • Alcohol education/treatment assessment.

Third Offense (within 5 years)

  • 10 days - 30 days imprisonment.
  • $500 - $2,500 fine.
  • 2 year license revocation.
  • Alcohol education/treatment assessment.


Child Endangerment

  • Offenders 18 or older who were operating a motor vehicle with a passenger less than 15 at the time of the offense are subject to the following additional mandatory sanctions.
    • $500 fine;
    • 48 hours imprisonment;
    • License revocation at least 2 years.

Ignition Interlock

  • Mandatory during period of license revocation.

Open Container Law

The Open Container Law prohibits possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in the passenger area of any motor vehicle, by any occupant of the vehicle, on any public highway or right of way, whether or not the vehicle is in motion.

Red Light Violation Fines

Hawaii does not have a state law governing fines or use of traffic cameras for red light enforcement.

Construction Zone Penalties

Speeding violations are subject to a $250 enhanced fine, whether or not workers are present.

Turn Signal Information

Signal your intention to turn or change lanes at least 100 feet (30 meters) in advance.

Hazard Light Information

Hazard light use is permitted to warn other drivers that a vehicle is in a hazardous position on the roadway. Hazard light use is never permitted when the vehicle is in motion.

Funeral Procession Right-of-Way Laws

  • Hawaii has no state law regarding right of way for a funeral procession.
  • Funeral processions are not required to allow sufficient space between vehicles so as to enable any other vehicle to enter and occupy such space without danger.

School Bus Laws


  • Vehicles are required to stop unless traveling on a different or divided roadway.
  • Vehicles must stop at least 20 feet from the school bus.


  • Failure to stop and remain stopped when required will result in a fine of up to $500, community service, or both.

Bicyclist Passing Distance

There is no specific law regarding minimum safe passing distance.

Motorcycle Laws


  • A temporary instruction permit may be obtained at age 15 1/2 but holders of temporary permits may not operate a motorcycle or motor scooter during the hours of darkness or carry any passengers.
  • The temporary instruction permit for a motorcycle may not be renewed more than once.
  • The roadside examination for a motorcycle license may be waived if the applicant has completed the approved motorcycle education course.

Protective Gear

  • Operators and passengers on motorcycles must wear safety glasses, goggles, or a face shield, unless the motorcycle is equipped with a windscreen.
  • No person less than 18 years of age may operate or ride as a passenger on a motorcycle or moped unless the person wears a safety helmet.


  • Every motorcycle or motor scooter must have at least 1 lighted headlight which must be in use from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise, and must be powerful enough to reveal a person, vehicle, or substantial object at least 200 feet ahead.
  • Headlight use during the day is not required.

Sharing the Road

  • Lane splitting is not authorized.
  • Two motorcycles may travel side-by-side in a single lane.

Using the Shoulder to Pass

You may not drive off the roadway to pass on the right.

Passing Laws

Do Not Pass:

  • When approaching or upon a hill or curve;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection or railroad grade crossing;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct, or tunnel.

When Being Passed:

  • Give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle;
  • The overtaking vehicle may signal by honking its horn;
  • Do not increase the speed of your vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

Speed Limits

There are no statutory speed limit provisions listing specific speed limits. However, no person shall drive a motor vehicle at a speed exceeding "the applicable State or county speed limit" by 30 mph or more, or 80 mph or more irrespective of the applicable State or county speed limit.

Safety Belt and Child Safety Seat Laws

Safety Belts

  • Occupants 8 years or older must wear safety belts.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for belt law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $45.

Child Seats

  • Children 3 years and younger must be in a child safety seat.
  • Children 4 - 7 years must be in a booster seat or child restraint.
  • Children 4 - 7 years who are taller than 4'9" must be restrained, and may use an adult safety belt.
  • Children 4 - 7 years who are at least 40 pounds must be restrained in the rear seat of a vehicle by a lap belt if no lap and shoulder belts are available.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for child seat law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $100. Hawaii drivers are also charge d $50 for a mandatory child restraint education program, and a $10 surcharge deposited into a neurotrauma fund.

Emergency Vehicle Laws

Move Over

  • When you see any of these vehicles displaying flashing lights while stopped on or adjacent to the roadway:
    • Police or fire department vehicle;
    • Ocean safety vehicle;
    • Emergency medical services vehicle;
    • Freeway service patrol vehicle;
    • Tow truck.
  • You must do the following:
    • Slow down to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for current weather, road, and traffic conditions, and the circumstances of an emergency road situation ahead.
    • Make a lane change into the adjacent lane if necessary and if it is safe to do so. If possible, move two lanes over, leaving one lane between your vehicle and the emergency vehicle.
    • If necessary, you may come to a complete stop before making a lane change.


  • Do not follow any emergency vehicle traveling in response to an emergency closer than 500 feet, or drive or park within 500 feet of where the emergency vehicle has stopped in answer to a fire alarm.

Collision Procedures

  • Stop at the scene or as close as possible without obstructing traffic more than necessary, and remain at the scene until all requirements are fulfilled.
  • Notify the nearest police department immediately if the accident has resulted in injury, death, or property damage of $3,000 or more. If the driver is unable to make the report, any other occupant of the vehicle who is able to must do so.
  • You must provide the following information to any other person involved in the accident, or any police officer at the scene of the crash:
    • Driver's name and address;
    • Vehicle registration number;
    • Show driver's license upon request.
  • Provide assistance to any injured person, including transporting them or making arrangements for transportation to a hospital or doctor, if necessary or requested.
  • If none of the other people involved in the accident are in a condition to receive the information you are required to give them, and no police officer is present, you must report the crash to the nearest police department as soon as you have provided assistance to any injured person.
  • If the accident has resulted in injury, death, or property damage of $3,000 or more, you must immediately notify the nearest police department of the accident.
  • Unattended vehicle or property:
    • If you have collided with an unattended vehicle or other unattended property on or adjacent to a highway, locate and notify the owner of the driver's name and address, and the vehicle registration number. If you are unable to do so, leave a written notice providing this information.
    • You must also report the accident to the nearest police officer.