Teen Drivers & Teen Driving Laws in Rhode Island

Experienced Attorneys Serving Teen Drivers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

For many teens, driving is a rite of passage. It offers both freedom and responsibility, and it can be one of the biggest milestones on the road to adulthood.

Of course, as with anything, inexperience can be a major concern. While CBS reports that Rhode Island is actually the third safest state for teen drivers, overall, drivers age 16 to 19 are three times as likely as drivers 20 and older to be involved in a fatal collision. As a result, teens, parents, and educators alike need to be cautious about the risks young drivers face during their early outings behind the wheel.

Rhode Island’s Graduated Licensing System for Teen Drivers

Recognizing the risks for teen drivers to cause and suffer serious injuries in dangerous accidents, the Rhode Island legislature has adopted a graduated licensing system for drivers under the age of 20. As teen drivers satisfy certain criteria, they are able to graduate to less-restrictive licenses until ultimately receiving their full, unrestricted license.

Rhode Island Limited Instruction Permit for Drivers Age 16 to 18

Teens who are ages 16 years to 18 years can receive a Limited Instruction Permit after completing a certified 33-hour driver education course. In order to receive a Limited Instruction Permit, the teen driver must pass a written exam, and they must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian who will sign their permit application at the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Teen drivers with a Limited Instruction Permit must:

  • Carry their permit at all times while driving
  • Be accompanied by an adult supervising driver who rides in the front seat
  • Not carry any other passengers

Limited Instruction Permits are valid for one year or until the teen driver turns 18, whichever comes first.

Rhode Island Limited Provisional License

Once a teen driver has had his or her Limited Instruction Permit for six months, then he or she can apply for a Limited Provisional License. In order to receive a Limited Provisional License, the teen driver must:

  • Present an affidavit signed by a parent or guardian which states that he or she has at least 50 hours of supervised driving experience, including at least 10 hours at night
  • Not have been convicted of a moving violation or seat belt infraction in the past six months.

A Limited Provisional License entitles the teen driver to: (i) drive supervised at any time, and (ii) drive unsupervised between 5:00am and 1:00am to get to work and participate in volunteer fire, rescue, and emergency medical activities. During their first year with a Limited Provisional License, teen drivers cannot carry more than one passenger under the age of 21, with an exception for immediate family members.

Rhode Island Full Operator License

Once a teen driver reaches age 17, he or she is eligible to apply for a Full Operator License, so long as: (i) he or she has held a Limited Provisional License for at least 12 months, and (ii) he or she has not been convicted of a moving violation or seat belt infraction during the past six months.

The Bottaro Law Firm, LLC | Auto Accident Attorneys Serving Rhode Island and Massachusetts

The Bottaro Law Firm, LLC is a team of experienced personal injury lawyers and legal professionals who represent car accident victims throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. If your teen has been injured in an accident, or if you have been injured in an accident involving a teen driver, we invite you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.