Updated: January, 2023Summary of common traffic laws in Rhode Island – Speed limits, License Renewals, Learners Permits, Drunk Driving Laws, and more. For more information, visit the Rhode Island Office of Highway Safety website.
In Rhode Island, the maximum speed limit for cars is 65 mph. The maximum highway speed for trucks is also 65 mph. These are maximum speeds. Speeds may be lower on highway passing through urban areas. Always observe posted traffic laws and drive safely for the weather and road conditions.
Rhode Island allows new drivers to get their learners permit at the age of 16. You must have your provisional license for a minimum of 6 months. Drivers can then get their intermediate license at 16 years and 6 months. An Intermediate License imposes restricts on when you are allowed to drive and how many passengers are allowed in the car, but allows you to drive yourself without an instructor in the car.
In Rhode Island, drivers can obtain their full drivers license at the age of 17 years and 6 months.
Rhode Island requires you to renew your license every 5 years. There are additional provisions for older drivers:
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The state of Rhode Island enforces increased penalties for speeding violations within work zones. These increased penalties are known as Work Zone Enhancements. Work Zone Enhancements can be enforced even if workers are not present as long as road work signs are posted. In Rhode Island, Work Zone Enhacements are:
The legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08%. Most states impose increased mandatory penalties for driving above a specific BAC. In Rhode Island, driving with a BAC above 0.10% will trigger automatic enhanced minimum penalties.
Cellphones and other handheld devices are banned while driving in most states. In Rhode Island, hand-held devices such as phones and mp3 player are banned to novice drivers only. Handheld devices bans prohibit talking on the phone without a hands-free system.
Texting while driving is banned in Rhode Island. Texting while driving is concidered a primary offense. This means that you can be pulled over with texting as the only offense. In Rhode Island, distracted driving is listed as a category on police crash report forms.
Rhode Island requires seabelt use. Seatbelt enforcement is concidered primary, meaning you can be pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. The fine for a seatbelt law violation in Rhode Island is $40.00. Seatbelt laws very by state. Many states require passengers to wear seatbelts as well.