Thursday, May 10, 2018

RI Drivers Must Be Hands-Free by June 1st … Are you prepared?

By Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC
President, Blais Insurance 

Beginning June 1st, a new law will take effect in Rhode Island that prohibits drivers from using a hand-held wireless communication device while driving. The goal of the law is to mitigate the growing problem of distracted driving, which has lead to needless deaths and serious injuries.

According to a National Highway Safety Administration report in 2015, distracted driving claimed nearly 3,500 lives with nearly 400,000 people seriously injured in these crashes. Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Peter Alviti Jr. believes this new law will save lives, stating: “Like so many other types of crashes we see, those involving drivers distracted by their cell phones are preventable. We will continue to work with your partners to educate the public about safe driving behaviors.”

This law does not include any provisions for minor drivers, who are already prohibited from using any type of cell phone while driving – including a hands-free option. Please review the below information provided by the RIDOT, which highlights specifics of the new law:

What is not allowed: Driver will not be able to hold a cell phone or other wireless device while operating a vehicle. The use of headphones or other accessories that cover both ears is also not allowed.

What is allowed: Drivers will be able to use in-car or other hands-free systems or accessories, commonly using a wireless technology called Bluetooth.

How does it work: If a police officer observes you holding a phone and talking or texting while driving, you 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.

At Blais Insurance, we are committed to helping you stay informed on the latest insurance trends. Should you require additional information on how you can safeguard your family, call us today at 725.0070.