Texting and driving is illegal in Rhode Island for drivers of all ages and license statuses. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone at any time while driving.

Drivers who use a handheld device are four times more likely to get into a motor vehicle accident and cause serious injuries to themselves or those in other vehicles. Furthermore, if a driver is texting while driving, they are 23 times more likely to get into a car accident.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, on average a driver looking at or sending a text message takes the driver’s eyes off of the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, this is the same as driving the length of an entire football field without even looking at the road.

These statistics are just some of the reasons why Rhode Island is cracking down on texting while driving. These laws are primary laws, meaning if a law enforcement officer see you texting while driving or breaking a cell phone law, they can pull you over.

Fines for Drivers Under 18

  • First or second offense is $50
  • Third and subsequent offenses is $100 and license suspension until the age of 18

Fines for Drivers Over 18

  • First offense is $85
  • Second offense is $100
  • Third and subsequent offenses are $125

In Rhode Island, it is illegal for drivers of all ages to text while driving. However, drivers of all ages may make phone calls from a handheld or hands free device. It is still a good idea to use caution when making phone calls and pull over to the side of the road if needed.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Cell Phones and Texting: Distracted Driving Laws in Rhode Island and was authored by Valerie Johnston.

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