New Rhode Island law bans using cell phones while driving

A new Rhode Island law bans drivers from using hand-held wireless communication devices, like cell phones, while driving. The use of headphones or accessories that cover both ears is also not allowed under the new law, which goes into effect June 1.

Drivers may use in-car or hands-free systems or accessories, which commonly use Bluetooth technology. Fines of up to $100 may be given out for violating the law. The fine may be waived for first-time offenders who can provide proof of purchase of a hands-free device.

Officials say the new law is intended to prevent distracted driving. It was sponsored be Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-RI) and Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-RI).

“With education and enforcement, there’s no question this new hands-free law will save lives,” said Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and director of the Department of Public Safety. “We will do our part to ensure motorists understand and abide by the new law, which will make our roads safer for everyone.”