Rhode Island

Highway safety laws differ from state to state. The summary information here can be used to compare laws in specific categories. We monitor legislative changes and update this information as needed.

DUI/DWI
BAC defined as illegal per se 0.08
Administrative license suspension 1st offense? no
Restore driving privileges during suspension? not applicable
RESTRICTIONS ON CELLPHONE USE AND TEXTING
Hand-held ban no
Young drivers all cellphone ban drivers younger than 18
Texting ban all drivers
Enforcement primary
MAXIMUM POSTED SPEED LIMITS
Rural interstates (mph) 65
Urban interstates (mph) 55
Other limited access roads (mph) 55
Other roads (mph) 55
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
To get a learners license you must:
Have a minimum age of 161
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Before getting a license or restricted license you must:
Have a mandatory holding period of 6 months
Have a minimum supervised driving time of 50 hours, 10 of which must be at night
Have a minimum age of 16, 6 months2
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Restrictions during intermediate or restricted license stage:
Nighttime restrictions 1 a.m.-5 a.m.
Passenger restrictions

(family members excepted unless otherwise noted)
first 12 months–no more than 1 passenger younger than 21
YOUNG DRIVER LICENSING SYSTEMS
Minimum age at which restrictions may be lifted:
Nighttime restrictions 17, 6 months
Passenger restrictions 17, 6 months
REGULAR LICENSING RENEWAL CYCLE
Length of regular renewal cycle 5 years
OLDER DRIVER SPECIAL LICENSING PROVISIONS
Accelerated renewal 2 years for drivers 75 and older
Other provisions none
CHILD RESTRAINTS
Must be in child restraint 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches and less than 80 pounds
Adult safety belt permissible 7 years and younger who either weigh 80 pounds or more or who are at least 57 inches tall; 8 through 17
Maximum fine 1st offense $85
Seating preference children 7 and younger must be in rear seat if available
Children not covered all children covered
SAFETY BELT USE
Initial effective date 06/18/91
Standard enforcement? yes; effective 6/30/11
Who is covered? In what seats? 18+ years in all seats
Maximum fine 1st offense $40
Can nonuse decrease monetary awards for injuries in lawsuits? no
MOTORCYCLE HELMET USE
Motorcyclists covered 20 and younger3
BICYCLE HELMET USE
Covered by state law 15 and younger
PICKUP TRUCKS: RESTRICTIONS ON RIDING IN CARGO AREAS
Restrictions on riding in cargo areas yes
Gaps in coverage people 16 and older; people 15 and younger who are secured in the cargo area
LOW-SPEED VEHICLES
On which roads are low-speed vehicles permitted? roads on Prudence Island with a posted speed limit of 25 mph or less during the hours of 6:00 am through 6:00 pm
What is the top speed permissible for low-speed vehicles? 25 mph
AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT: RED LIGHT CAMERAS
Statewide or only specified locations? statewide
Violations red light
Citations issued to whom? registered owner
Who is liable? driver
What image is taken? 2 or more images of vehicle and tag in any medium
Traditional enforcement penalty $75 fine
Auto enforcement penalties/record $75 fine; not a criminal or record offense; not a moving violation; not to be used by insurers until there is a final adjudication of the violation

1In Rhode Island, driver education is required of permit applicants younger than 18.

2In Rhode Island, driver education is required of license applicants younger than 18.

3Rhode Island's motorcycle helmet use law covers all passengers (regardless of age) and all operators during the first year of licensure (regardless of age).