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Rhode Island Traffic Laws

Brushing up on Rhode Island's rules of the road is an easy way to help keep yourself and other motorists safe. It can also help you avoid a traffic ticket from law enforcement.

This article provides information on traffic laws and driving rules in Rhode Island—including the state vehicle code, statutes on common traffic violations, and state driving manuals.

Use the following driving manuals and vehicle codes to learn more about several topics:

The linked material at the end of this article goes in-depth about traffic regulations specific to Rhode Island. Learn more about:

  • Basic driving rules and common traffic offenses for right-of-way, lane changes, passing zones, running a red light, and more
  • Crossing paths with emergency vehicles and school buses
  • Special rules for school zones, railroad crossings, and construction zones
  • Speed limits for varying roadways, including public highways and residential areas
  • Traffic control devices and signals, like traffic lights, stop signs, yield signs, and roundabouts
  • Restrictions on text messaging and the use of cell phones, earphones, and other electronic devices while driving
  • Pedestrian control signals and crosswalks
  • Impaired driving (DUI/DWI), aggressive driving, and reckless driving laws and penalties
  • Issuance, reinstatement, suspension, and revocation of licenses
  • Unlawful vehicle modifications and required equipment, like windshield wipers, bumpers, and license plates

Speeding in Rhode Island

Speeding in Rhode Island can cost you. Citations for breaking the speed limit carry a minimum fine of $95. The fine increases the faster you drive, with a $205 minimum fine for speeds 11+mph over the posted limit.

Depending on the offense's occurrence, additional fines and penalties can be applied. Repeat Rhode Island speeders can face up to an extra $20 per mph over the limit and a 60-day driver's license suspension.

The easiest way to avoid these costly speeding fines is to obey the posted speed limit. Rhode Island enforces the following maximum speeds:

  • 65 mph on rural interstates
  • 55 mph on urban interstates
  • 55 mph on other limited-access public roads
  • 25 mph in residential areas

The limits above are for ideal conditions only. Reduced speeds may be necessary during inclement weather or adverse road conditions.

If you are cited for speeding, you have the option to contest the ticket. The Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal oversees all traffic violations and select non-criminal offenses. They handle cases for traffic infractions like speeding tickets, parking violations, and other minor offenses.

Table of Rhode Island Traffic Statutes

Find common traffic laws and links to their specific statutes in the table below.

Drinking & Driving Violations Driving under the influence of liquor or drugs (RI Code 31-27-2)Right of person to physical examination(RI Code 31-27-3)
Driving Without a License / With a Suspended License License required to drive(RI Code 31-10-1)License to be carried and exhibited on demand(RI Code 31-10-27)
Driving Without Insurance / With Insufficient Insurance Proof of Financial Responsibility for the Future(RI Code Ch. 31-32)
Driving Without Registration / With Expired Registration Offenses Against Registration and Certificate of Title Laws (RI Code Ch. 31-8)Certificate of title required (RI Code 31-3.1-1)
Illegal U-Turn Places where U-turns prohibited (RI Code 31-16-4)
Leaving the Scene of a Car Accident / Hit & Run Accidents and Accident Reports (RI Code Ch. 31-26)
Mechanical Violations Equipment and Accessories Generally(RI Code Ch. 31-23)Lighting Equipment and Reflectors (RI Code Ch. 31-24)
Reckless Driving Reckless driving and other offenses against public safety (RI Code 31-27-4)
Running a Red Light / Stop Sign Traffic Control Devices (RI Code Ch. 31-13)
Seat Belt / Child Restraint Violations Safety seat belts in new vehicles(RI Code 31-23-39)Approved types of seat belts(RI Code 31-23-40)
Speeding Speed Restrictions(RI Code Ch. 31-14)
Unlawful Vehicle Modifications Equipment and Accessories Generally(RI Code Ch. 31-23)Lighting Equipment and Reflectors(RI Code Ch. 31-24)

Traffic Violation? Get Help Now

If you have been ticketed for a traffic violation in the state of Rhode Island, you should contact a traffic ticket attorney in your area. An experienced attorney can review your citation to ensure the police officer applied Rhode Island traffic laws correctly. This may save you a fine and keep points off your driving record. Depending on the severity of the offense, it could even prevent a driver's license suspension or revocation.

If you have been charged with a more serious offense, like a DUI or hit and run, consider reaching out to a criminal defense attorney. A skilled attorney can review the circumstances of your charge, challenge evidence, and negotiate with the prosecution.

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