The Rhode Island Department of Transportation and the Rhode Island State Police joined with federal and state leaders to highlight the upcoming new hands-free law in Rhode Island. The law takes effect on June 1 and prohibits a driver from using a hand-held wireless communication device while driving.
The new hands-free law was sponsored by Senator V. Susan Sosnowski and Representative Kathleen A. Fogarty.
“Many of us have grown accustomed to using mobile devices in almost every aspect of our lives, including in our cars and trucks. This is especially true for our younger population, which grew up with this kind of technology embedded in their daily lives,” said Senator Sosnowski. “It’s important not to forget that every time we step into a vehicle, we are taking our lives and the lives of others into our own hands. Distracted driving is extremely dangerous.”
The new law allows drivers to use an in-car or other hands-free system or accessory, such as Bluetooth. If a police officer observes someone holding a phone while driving, her or she will be pulled over and may be fined up to $100. The offense may be waived for first offenders only by showing proof of purchase of a hands-free device before the fine is due.
At the event, a variety of hands-free devices were shown and discussed. Many newer cars have features already built in, and Bluetooth devices are widely available at retail stores and online. Those having difficulty with pairing their phones should seek advice from the car or electronics retailer where they purchased the devices.
An important note: Using headphones in both ears is also against the law.