Generally, text messaging and all other handheld device use while driving is prohibited in Rhode Island. This article covers the specifics of Rhode Island's distracted driving laws, including the penalties for a cellphone or texting ticket.
Rhode Island's distracted driving law prohibits operating a vehicle while using any wireless communication device (including cellphones and tablets) to compose, read, or send a text message.
Exceptions. Rhode Island's text messaging ban has several exceptions. The law doesn't apply to:
Penalties. For a first texting-while-driving violation the motorist is looking a fine of up to $100 and/or a maximum 30-day license suspension. A second offense carries a maximum $150 fine and/or a license suspension of up to three months. And anyone convicted of a third texting violation faces up to $250 in fines and a maximum six-month license suspension.
Rhode Island law also prohibits operating a vehicle while using a handheld wireless communication device (including cellphones and tablets) to "engage in a call while such vehicle is in motion." For purposes of the law, "engage in a call" means talking into or listening to but doesn't include activating, deactivating, or initiating a function of the device.
Exceptions. There are several exceptions to Rhode Island's cellphone. The law doesn't apply to:
Penalties. Motorists who get caught talking on their cellphone while driving face up to $100 in fines. However, the fine is suspended (meaning you don't have to pay it) for first offenders who show proof of acquiring a hands-free accessory subsequent to the violation and prior to the imposition of the fine.