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Rhode Island Graduated License Program - RI Graduated Drivers License Requirements

Rhode Island Graduated Drivers License

By now, most of the states in the country have a graduated drivers license program and Rhode Island is no exception to the rule. The Rhode Island graduated driver license system targets teenage drivers under 18 years of age and enforces a number of additional requirements and restrictions onto such drivers. The graduated drivers license system implies a multi-step licensing procedure for every teenager and also makes drivers education classes mandatory. The Rhode Island graduated drivers license requirements were developed in order to provide every young driver with a chance to gain the essential driving experience in a safe driving environment and you should follow the rules at all times. Failure to observe the graduated license restrictions may result in your driving privilege being suspended or revoked.

Most of the teenagers who start looking into applying for a Rhode Island driver's license wonder why this program is in place and why do we even need it? Shouldn't the regular license testing be able to show whether the person is fit to drive and why does the Division of Motor Vehicles make you jump through all these extra hoops before granting you with full driving privileges?

The reasons that led to development of the Rhode Island graduated driver license system are very simple. Every year, over 40,000 people in the country die in traffic accidents. This is a huge number and despite many efforts, the numbers are rising as the population grows and traffic conditions become more congested and difficult.

Statistics show us that quite a large proportion of those drivers who were involved in a traffic accident received their driver license within a year or two prior to an accident. That happened even though they have passed both a written examination and a driving test at the DMV, something every driver has to go through. However, being able to pass the tests does not make you a good driver, it just shows that you have the basic driving skills. Frequently, this is not enough. There is only one way to become a good driver and that is to spend countless hours behind the wheel. Of course, there are many courses and programs that can point you in the right direction and give you a huge number of helpful driving tips, but in order for you to learn how to apply that knowledge, you have to get behind the wheel and start driving.

The graduated drivers license program was created to help young inexperienced drivers to submerge into the world of driving. Many studies conducted on the subject throughout the state and countrywide provided many insights into the most frequent causes of traffic accidents and the graduate license program was shaped in such way that helps drivers to avoid making these mistakes.

You may wonder why the Rhode Island graduated drivers license program applies only to drivers who are under 18 years of age is it's all about driving experience. Why are older drivers treated differently from teenagers? It turns out that in addition to facing the risks that are brought by lack of driving experience, teenagers also display a number of habits that increase their chances of being involved in an accident due to the fact that they fail to predict the consequences of their actions. Where an older driver may slow down and pay closer attention to the road, a youngster may speed up and keep talking to the friends in the car. In addition to that, teenagers are less likely to use a seat belt while driving. Combined with speeding, this may lead to dramatics consequences. That's why the Rhode Island graduated drivers license program applies only to youngsters.

Rhode Island Graduated License Stages

According to the Rhode Island graduated license law, the licensing procedure is divided into a number of stages. As the drivers license applicant proceeds through these stages, additional driving privileges are awarded. Once the applicant gain sufficient experience and fulfills all GDL requirements, all restrictions are lifted and the applicant is awarded with a full driver license.

At the moment, the graduated license program in Rhode Island has the following stages:

  1. Limited Instructional Permit
  2. Limited Provisional License
  3. Full Operator's Drivers License

Remember: the Rhode Island graduated license rules and requirements apply only if you under 18 years of age. If you are at least 18, you can obtain a Rhode Island learners permit and drivers license through a simplified application procedure.

Rhode Island Learners Permit

Applying for a learners permit is the first step of the graduated license program. In order to be eligible for a permit, you must be at least 16 years of age.

According to the GDL requirements, you must complete a Rhode Island drivers education program before applying for a permit at the DMV. Drivers ed classes are provided by the CCRI and you may sign up for a class either through the CCRI website or by calling them at 825-2182. The course consist of 33 hours or classroom instruction and you will need to obtain your certificate of completion before go in to the DMV for your drivers permit.

The Rhode Island permit test is also conducted by the CCRI for those who take drivers education classes through them. Still, if you want to see what the knowledge exam is like, you may take a free Rhode Island practice permit test that is offered online.

Once you receive your learners permit from the DMV, you can start driving, provided you observe all Rhode Island permit restrictions. The main limitation of your permit is that you cannot drive alone and must have a supervising driver seated in the front seat next to you whenever you are behind the wheel. The supervising driver must be at least 21 years of age and must have not less than five years of driving experience. Everyone in the vehicle must wear seat belts and you cannot use a cell phone or any other communication device while driving.

You must hold your instructional permit for at least six months and complete a minimum of 50 hours of driving with your parents or legal guardians during this period, with 10 of these hours completed at nighttime. A moving violation during this period will also result in the holding period being extended for another six months.

Once you fulfill these requirements, you become eligible for the Rhode Island driver's test. The test is conducted by the DMV and it assesses your driving skills. Those who successfully complete the test are graduated to the next stage of the program.

Limited Provisional License

By now, you should have completed a drivers education class, passed both the written test and the driver skills exam and have completed all other GDL requirements. When you are awarded with a provisional drivers license, you can finally start driving alone, without a supervising driver. However, this license is not called limited and provisional for no reason. You have to observe the following drivers license restrictions while operating under this type of a drivers license:

  • Curfew. There is a nighttime driving restriction that prohibits driving alone between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Exceptions can be made if you are traveling to/from an employment or school related activity or if there is a supervising driver present in the car.
  • Passenger restrictions. For the first 12 months, no more than one passenger who is not a family or household member under the age of 21 is allowed to be in the vehicle.
  • Seat belts. Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt.
  • Cell phones. You cannot use a cell phone, even with a hands-free device.

These restrictions must be observed until you receive a full operator's drivers license.

Full Operator's License

You may read a full list of conditions for receiving an operator's license in the Rhode Island drivers handbook, however the basic conditions are very simple. In order to successfully complete the Rhode Island graduated driver's license program and to receive your operator's license, you must be at least 17 years, 6 months old, have held a provisional license for at least 12 months and have not had any moving violation within six months of the application date. Once you get your full license, all restrictions, apart from the cell phone usage, are lifted.