Rhode Island’s New Beginning of Safe Laws and Roads

June 1st, 2018

From telegraphs, to car phones, to flip phones then iPhones, the evolution of phones and communication is constantly improving. However, just because the technology is improving and ever-changing, does not mean the safety improved. The National Safety Council states that cell phones are involved in 1.6 million auto accidents each year. If these car accidents are happening so much, what can be done to make our roads safer?

“No-Hands Rule” in Rhode Island

As of June 1st, Rhode Island will be introducing their new hands-free phone law. This will prohibit drivers from using hand-held devices except in case of an emergency. Phone calls can still be made, as long as it is with a hands-free device, such as Bluetooth or with in-car technology.  Any driver who violates this new law will be subject to a fine up to $100. This fine can be deferred for a first-time offender, as long as they provide proof of purchase of a hands-free device. With 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States being related to phones, this new law is a huge step for the safety of Rhode Island drivers

Rhode Island already has a law regarding texting and driving, which was passed in 2009. Section 31-22-30 of the Rhode Island state law states, “No person shall use a wireless handset or personal wireless communication device to compose, read, or send text messages while driving a motor vehicle on any public street or public highway within the state of Rhode Island.” Consequences of texting and driving may include a fine of $100, a license suspension for up to 30 days, or both. The more times a driver is caught texting and driving, the fine and day of suspension amount rises.

This was not the first time a hands-free law was brought to the attention of the Rhode Island government. According to an article in the Providence Journal, the General Assembly passed a similar bill in 2001, only to have former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Almond to veto it, because “cellphones were way down on the list of driver distractions.”1

Contact Us

At Bottaro Law, we know that our neighbors in Rhode Island and Massachusetts face distracted driving dangers every day. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident caused by an inattentive driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Call (401) 777-7777 or contact us online 24/7 for a free and confidential case review from our Rhode Island and Massachusetts car accident lawyers.

1: Katherine Gregg, “Raimondo signs bill banning drivers from talking on hand-held cellphones” last modified July 10th, 2017. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/05/