Safety Laws in Rhode IslandPage Overview
Drunk driving is a very serious offense. Residents convicted of a DUI face license suspension, fines, community service, a highway safety assessment, drunk driving school, mandatory alcohol treatment, and a possible jail sentence.
If you see someone you suspect is operating under the influence of alcohol, call 911 to report:
- Your location and the location of the suspected drunk driver
- A description of the driver's vehicle, including make, model, and license plate number
- Any specific behaviors you have witnessed, such as tailgating or excessive swerving, that have led you to believe the driver may be intoxicated
- Children under 8 years old, less than 57 inches tall, and weighing less than 80 lbs. must be transported in the rear seating position of a motor vehicle and properly restrained in a child restraint system.
- Children between 8 to 12 years old must be wearing a properly fitting seat belt.
NOTE: Kids under 8 years old are exempt from the rear seat if:
- The vehicle lacks a backseat.
- All rear seating positions are filled by other child passengers.
Parents ticketed for violating the state's child restraint law must appear in court.
If you're in the market for one, you can shop online for a child car seat at any time. Before ordering, be sure to read our articles on How to Buy a Child Safety Seat and How to Install a Child Safety Seat.
Seat Belts, Age 13 and Over
Rhode Island's seat belt law states:
- Any passenger age 13 years old or over must be restrained wearing a safety belt and/or shoulder harness
- All vehicle operators must be restrained wearing a safety belt and/or shoulder harness
The fine for not wearing a seat belt is $85.
Proper headlight usage is an important part of safe driving. In Rhode Island, you are legally required to use your headlights when:
- Driving from sunset to sunrise
- You can't see more than 500 feet in front of your vehicle
- Weather conditions require the use of your windshield wipers
You should dim your bright headlights when meeting another vehicle at a distance of at least 500 feet, or when following another motorist at 200 feet or less.
Drivers under 18 years old and school bus drivers can be ticketed for using a cell phone while driving.
Texting while driving is banned for all drivers, regardless of age or license status.
Although Rhode Island does not mandate motorcycle helmet use for the general population, the following provisions apply:
- All passengers must wear helmets, regardless of age.
- All operators must wear helmets during the first year of licensure, regardless of age.
- Operators under 21 years old are legally required to wear helmets whenever traveling on the state's roads.
Bicycle helmets are legally required for riders 15 years old and under. In addition, whenever there is a safe bicycle path near a roadway, riders are encouraged to use the path instead of traveling on the road.Other Topics in This Section
- Traffic Alerts
- 511 Traffic Systems
- Tire Recalls
- Safety Laws
- How Emotions Affect Driving
- Driving in Hazardous Conditions
- Teen Drivers: A Beginner's Guide
- Seniors: When To Turn Over The Car Keys
- Packing Your First-Aid Kit
- Seven Senior Safety Suggestions
- Wildlife on the Road
- When to Call Wildlife Rescue
- Taking A Mature Driver Course
- Medications & Driving
- Night Driving
- Hallucinations on the Road
- How To Drive Distraction Free
- Treating Motion Sickness
- Road Rage: How To Deal With It