Safety Laws in Rhode Island

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Reporting a Drunk Driver

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence in Rhodes Island. If you are convicted of DUI, you will face serious penalties such as driver’s license suspension, community work, fines, jail term or mandatory alcohol treatment. If you suspect a drunk driver who is driving dangerously, contact the law enforcement officers by dialing 911. Be sure to report the driver’s location, vehicle’s description, its license plate number and travel direction.

Rhode Island Child Car Seat Laws

  • Any child younger than 8 years old, weighing less than 80 pounds and less than 57 inches must ride in a secured child restraint system placed on the rear side of the vehicle.
  • Any child between 8 years old and 12 years old must be secured by a fitting seat belt.

Any driver, who receives a ticket because of failing to ensure that a child is properly restrained in a child car seat or restraint system, is required to appear in court. If such a driver is found guilty, he or she will face a fine of up to $8. If you are in the market shopping for a child car seat, you can purchase one online. Be sure to consider your child’s age, height and weight before making your purchase.

Rhode Island’s seat belt law

This law states that:

  • Any passenger older than 13 years old must wear a seat belt or shoulder belt.
  • All drivers must also wear a seat belt or a shoulder restraint system.


All drivers in Rhode Island are required by law to turn on headlights:

  • 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise.
  • Whenever visibility is reduced 500 feet ahead as a result of rain or bad weather.
  • Whenever the windshield wipers are turned on as a result of rain, snow, fog or mist.

Your bright headlights should be dimmed when an approaching vehicle is within 500 feet ahead or when you are following a vehicle that is 200 feet ahead.

Cell Phones and Texting Laws

School bus drivers and drivers younger than 18 years old are not allowed to use cell phones while driving. All drivers in Rhode Island, regardless of ages and license status, are banned from texting or reading texts while driving.

Motorcycle and Bicycle Helmets


  • All passengers in a motorcycle, regardless of age, must wear helmets.
  • All motorcycle riders, regardless of age, must wear helmets during the first year of their motorcycle license.
  • All riders younger than 21 years old are required by law to wear helmets whenever they are riding on public roads or streets.


All bicycle riders younger than 15 years old are required by law to wear helmets while riding on public roads in Rhodes Island. Also, they are required to use the path instead of the main road.