Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Rhode Island
||Second offense within a 5-year period
||Third or subsequent offense within a 5- to 10-year period
||BAC 0.1%-0.15%: $100-$300
BAC over 0.15%: $100-$400
|BAC 0.1%-0.15%: $400
BAC over 0.15%: $1,000 minimum
|BAC 0.1%-0.15% within a 5-year period: $400
BAC over 0.15% within a 10-year period: $1,000-$5,000
|Public community restitution (in hours)
||1 year maximum
||BAC 0.1%-0.15%: 10 days to 1 year
BAC over 0.15%: 6 months to 1 year
|BAC 0.1%-0.15% within a 5-year period: 1-3 years
BAC over 0.15% within a 10-year period: 3-5 years
||BAC 0.1%-0.15%: 1-2 years
BAC over 0.15%: 2 years minimum
|BAC 0.1%-0.15% within a 5-year period: 2-3 years
BAC over 0.15% within a 10-year period: 3 years
||Special course on DUIs (at judge’s discretion)
||Drug and alcohol treatment
||Drug and alcohol treatment
|Ignition interlock requirement
||At judge’s discretion
Seat Belt Laws
Everyone age 8 and older must wear seat belts in all seats in Rhode Island. Police can stop you for violating this law alone, as it falls under primary enforcement.
Distracted Driving Laws
All drivers are banned from using handheld electronic devices while driving. Much like the seat belt law, Rhode Island’s distracted driving law is under primary enforcement. See below for the penalties for texting and driving.
||Third and subsequent offenses
|License suspension (in months)
Teen Driving Laws in Rhode Island
|Type of license
|Limited instruction permit
||Driver at least 21 with at least 5 years of licensure in front passenger seat at all times
|Limited provisional license
||Limited driving privileges 1-5 a.m.
||Driver at least 21 or older with at least 5 years of licensure in front seat, with some exceptions:
- 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. when driving to or from work, as part of a volunteer fire department or rescue squad, or for an emergency medical service activity
- 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. when driving between home and school-sponsored athletic activity that the school didn’t provide transportation for
|First 12 months: No more than 1 passenger under 21, except for immediate family/household members
After first year: No restrictions
|Full operator’s license
How Long You Have to File Claims
Following a car accident, Rhode Island gives you 10 years to file property damage claims, which is more than twice as long as the national average. However, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is on par with the U.S. average at three years. If you miss either of these windows, your insurance provider is not required to give you auto coverage.
Cancellation and Non-Renewal
Since Rhode Island requires car insurance for all vehicles on public roads, auto insurance companies can’t just cancel your coverage without telling you. Rather, if they want to cancel your coverage mid-term, they must give you 30 days’ notice before your policy expires. If companies don’t want to renew your coverage at the end of its term, they must notify you within 60 days of the expiration date.
Is it possible to be your own auto insurance provider? In Rhode Island, the answer is yes, for liability coverage only. However, you’ll need the following in order to qualify:
- More than 25 vehicles
- At least $100,000 in collateral
Safety and emissions inspections are required for vehicles weighing 8,500 pounds or less every two years if their vehicle identification number (VIN) ends in even numbers, or every year if their VIN ends in odd numbers. For new vehicles, you won’t need to complete the first inspection for two years after your purchase date or until you reach 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Inspection fees range from $23.50 to $39.6 Find an inspection station near you at https://dmv.ri.gov/registrations-plates-titles/inspections-emissions/inspection-stations-and-locations.
As of July 2018, Rhode Island no longer requires SR-22 certificates, proof of minimum insurance. This is good news for high-risk drivers who were previously obligated to file SR-22s, since insurance companies charge them more.
Defensive driving classes in Rhode Island are six hours long and cost $165. Reserve a class online at https://ridmvreservations.ri.gov.
There’s no serious injury or monetary threshold to meet to file a civil lawsuit following a car accident in Rhode Island. You can sue for both economic and non-economic damages, including lost wages, medical expenses, pain, suffering, and anxiety. If you were at fault at all in the accident, your compensation would be reduced by your degree of fault.
Accident Reporting Laws
In Rhode Island, you’re legally required to report any car accidents that result in injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,000 within 21 days. Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to $500.
Factors That Impact the Cost of Insurance
Credit scores are a factor that insurance providers in Rhode Island may take into account when determining premiums. That means people with poor credit scores will see higher rates. Companies are also allowed to consider gender, so men will pay more in Rhode Island as well.
Total Loss Threshold
In Rhode Island, a car is declared a total loss if its salvage value is less than the cost of repairs. In this case, the vehicle wouldn’t be repaired, but would be declared a total loss. Your insurance company would reimburse you for your vehicle’s actual market value if you have comprehensive coverage.