Rhode Island is governed by distracted driving laws that limit or restrict cell phone usage while operating a motor vehicle. There are Rhode Island cell phone laws that both ban texting while driving, and limit cell phone use while driving.
Texting While Driving
Rhode Island General Law §31-22-30 prohibits any person from using a wireless handset or personal wireless communication device to send or receive text messages inside a motor vehicle unless “such motor vehicle is parked, standing, or stopped and is removed from the flow of traffic.” This law effectively bans texting while driving including composing a text message, sending, or reading a text message while operating a motor vehicle.
If a driver is found texting while driving, they will be subject to a $100 fine, the suspension of their license for up to 30 days, or both for a first offense. For a second offense, the driver will be subject to a $150 fine, a license suspension for up to 3 months, or both. A third violation will result in a $250 fine, a license suspension for up to 6 months, or both.
Talking on a Cell Phone While Driving
Rhode Island General Law §31-22-31 prohibits the use of a “hand-held personal wireless device to engage in a call while such vehicle is in motion.” The law prohibits the use of a cell phone while driving but does allow for the use of a “hands-free personal wireless communication device” while driving, such as Bluetooth.
However, all drivers under the age of 18 years old are prohibited from all cell phone use, either hands-free or hand-held. Bus drivers are also prohibited from all cell phone use.
For drivers who violate this law, there is a $100 fine. However, the fine can be suspended if the first time offender shows proof of acquiring a hands-free accessory after the violation and before the imposition of the fine.
Car Accidents Due to Cell Phone Use
Using a cell phone while driving can be extremely distracting and increases your risk of being in a car crash, and although it is illegal in Rhode Island, there are still people on the road who text while driving. A driver who is texting takes their eyes off the road, endangering themselves and the drivers and pedestrians around them. If you are in an accident where the other driver was texting while driving, you may be able to claim damages under Rhode Island cell phone laws.
The use of a cell phone while driving can be evidence of negligence on the part of the at-fault driver. If the other driver is found of negligence, they may owe you damages. An experienced car accident attorney can prove if the other driver was texting at the time of the accident and will fight for you against the insurance company to get the compensation to which you are entitled.
If you were injured in a car accident where the other driver was using their cell phone or otherwise violating Rhode Island cell phone laws, the experienced car accident attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD may be able to help. Call our office at 401 331 6300 for a free case evaluation.