• Rhode Island Speeding Ticket Laws

    Speeding Tickets in Rhode Island

    Fighting a Speeding Ticket in Rhode Island
    Rhode Island Points – Fines – Reciprocity and Other Issues

    First, the Rhode Island statute discusses a reasonable and prudent speed that should not be exceeded by drivers. The reasonable and prudent speed should be one that takes into account the hazards that exist on the road, and the possibility of the driver’s speed creating a danger for other people on the road. R. I. Gen. Laws § 31-14-1.
    Next, there are several absolute guidelines that the laws set out in certain areas relating to speed. In a school zone the maximum speed is 20 mph, business or residential districts is 25mph, at night 40 mph, and everywhere else 50 mph. R. I. Gen. Laws § 31-14-2.

    The law gives several possible “hazardous” conditions that should cause drivers to reduce their speed such as: railroad crossings, narrow or winding roads, weather conditions, etc. This list is not limited to those contained but serves as an example to drivers on when to reduce speeds. R. I. Gen. Laws § 31-14-3.

    Although the state has set some guidelines for maximum speeds, the state traffic commission can change those speeds based on the road and its conditions. R. I. Gen. Laws § 31-14-4. The road and its conditions can also include historic districts or highways where Rhode Island wishes to protect the area and its historical meaning. R. I. Gen. Laws § 31-14-4.1. Local authorities such as police departments can also petition the state traffic authority to have the speed limits changed based on the conditions of the road. R. I. Gen. Laws § 31-14-5.

    There are lower limits on speed in the state as well. A person cannot drive so slow that they impede the flow of traffic on the road, unless their speed is necessary for safety on the road. R. I. Gen. Laws § 31-14-9.

    Absolute Speed Limits in Rhode Island

    Absolute speed limits are a barrier, the speed limits which it is a crime to go over in an circumstance. In the state of Rhode Island, the absolute speed limit is 50 miles per hour. There are also absolute speeds based on the area or time of day that a person is driving in: business or residential districts (25 mph), school zones (20 mph), or at night (45 mph). With permission of the state driving authority cities and towns can alter these mandatory limits to even lower speeds, but these state limits are the absolute maximums.

    Presumed Speed Limits in Rhode Island

    The presumed speed limits in Rhode Island are that the driver should not “drive a vehicle on a highway greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.” R. I. Gen. Laws § 31-14-1. The Rhode Island statute is very broad in determining what would be an appropriate speed based on the conditions of the road, and the hazards that are involved at the time that the driver is on the road. Although it is a difficult standard to test, and would be difficult for law enforcement to enforce, the overall theory behind the law is one of safety for the individual driver and the other individuals on the road.
  •  Ask a Legal Question

  • legal dictionary