The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and its Office on Highway Safety are sending a message to drivers that it is now illegal to text while driving. Rhode Island is the 19th state, along with the District of Columbia, to pass such a law. Governor Donald L. Carcieri signed this bill into law last night.
Violators caught and convicted of texting while driving will get an $85 fine for the first offense, a $100 fine for the second offense, and a $125 fine for the third offense. This new law took effect immediately upon its passage.
“Driver inattention is a leading cause of motor vehicle crashes and texting has been one of the most egregious forms of it,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. “This law will help put a driver’s eyes back on the road where they should be.”
RIDOT has plans to alert drivers of this law by running ads, using RIDOT’s highway variable message signs, putting information on social media sites, and reaching out to universities to let students know about the change.
“While this law helps us save lives, RIDOT is continuing to work towards a primary seat belt law. Doing so would prevent serious injuries and save even more lives while providing Rhode Island an additional $3.7 million in transportation infrastructure and highway safety funds,” said Lewis.
Contact: Dana Alexander Nolfe 401-222-1362 x4450