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Rhode Island Learners Permit Restrictions - RI Driving Permit Rules

Rhode Island Permit Restrictions

Holding a Rhode Island learners permit gives you the right to operate a motor vehicle of the corresponding class, however this right is limited by numerous permit restrictions that must be observed at all times. Restrictions that will apply to your learners permit depend on your age and the stage of the Rhode Island graduated license program you are currently at, if you are under 18 years of age. All Rhode Island permit restrictions are based on many studies conducted on traffic safety inside the state and throughout the country. Failure to observe the Rhode Island driver permit restrictions will result in your driving privilege being suspended or canceled, depending on the nature of the offense.

Teenage drivers are frequently frustrated by the necessity to observe these rules and restrictions and wonder what is the purpose of the whole Rhode Island graduated drivers license system. Shouldn't you be allowed to drive whenever and however you want, provided you passed the required testing procedures and observe the regular road rules? Theoretically, you should, however statistics show us that young inexperienced drivers are highly likely to make a mistake and be involved in a traffic accident within a few years of license issuance. Hence, the licensing procedure was divided into a number of separate stages, each stage with its own set of restrictions, as to allow all drivers license applicants gain the essential driving experience in a relatively safe driving environment.

Rhode Island Permit Restrictions - 18 Years of Age and Older

If you were at least 18 years of age when you applied for a Rhode Island drivers permit, there won't be that many permit restrictions for you to observe. The main rule that you need to follow is that you cannot drive alone and must have a licensed driver at least 20 years of age with a minimum of 5 years of driving experience seated next to you at all times. The supervising driver must be prepared to take control of the vehicle at any time should you make a mistake. Your supervising driver is also responsible for any moving violation you commit, that is, if you commit a traffic offense, both you and your supervising driver will be cited.

Although this is the only real restrictions to your learners permit, we compiled a short list of safe driving tips that can help you get through this period safely.

  • No cell phones. Try to avoid talking on a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, while driving. Distracted driving is one of the most frequent causes of traffic accidents. Keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road as much as you can. If you need to make a phone call - stop where it's safe and legal to do before you make the call.
  • Seat belts. Seat belts should be worn by everyone present in the vehicle. Due to your lack of experience, the chances of you being involved in an accident are quite high. Minimize the risk of someone being hurt by making them wear a safety belt.
  • Don't speed. Try to drive slowly in the beginning and avoid highways and other places where your slow driving may impede traffic. The faster you go, the less time you have for making decisions and reacting upon changes in traffic conditions.

Remember: these are not real restrictions to your Rhode Island drivers permit, they are just tips that you may choose to follow.

Although the restrictions to your learners permit are different from those that apply to teenage drivers, the testing procedures that you have to go through are the same. Before you can get behind the wheel, you are required to pass a Rhode Island permit test at the DMV facility in Pawtucket. If you want to see what the real permit test is like, you are more than welcome to try yourself again the Rhode Island practice permit test.

Learners Permit Restrictions - Under 18 Years of Age

If you choose to apply for a learners permit before the age of 18, you will need to follow the graduated license program. The state requires you to complete an approved Rhode Island drivers education class even before you submit your permit application at the DMV. The class can be taken through the Community College of Rhode Island and you can sign up either through their website or by calling 852-2182. Permit testing will also be conducted by the CCRI once you complete your 33 hours of classroom work.

Once you are granted with a permit, you are to observe the following Rhode Island permit restrictions:

  • No driving alone. You must have a licensed driver at least 20 years of age with at least five years of driving experience, who signed your permit application form, supervise you at all times.
  • Seat belts. Seat belts must be worn by everyone in the vehicle.
  • Cell phones. You cannot use a cell phone or any other communication device while driving

These drivers permit restrictions must be observed for at least six months. During this period, you must also complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving with parents, with 10 of these hours completed at nighttime.

Once these requirements are met, you are allowed to take a Rhode Island drivers test and receive a provisional drivers license.

Limited Provisional Drivers License Restrictions

A limited provisional drivers license may be issued to drivers license applicants who are under 18 years of age, have passed the drivers test and have fulfilled all requirements of the previous graduated license phase. Having a provisional drivers license allows unsupervised driving, but the following conditions must be met:

  • Curfew. There is a nighttime driving restriction that prohibits you from driving between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. You can drive during this time if you are traveling to/from an employment or school related activity for which no other transportation is available or when you have a supervising driver seated next to you.
  • Passenger restrictions. No more than one passenger under the age of 21 who is not a family or household member is allowed in the vehicle for the first 12 months.
  • Seat belts. Safety belts must be worn by everyone in the vehicle.
  • Cell phones. You cannot use a cell phone or any other communication device while driving.

All these license restrictions, apart from the cell phone ban, will be lifted and you will be issued with a full Rhode Island driver license once you have held your provisional license for at least 12 months. Restriction that prohibits you from using a cell phone while driving will be lifted once you reach the age of 18.

Penalties for Breaking Rhode Island Permit Restrictions

If you are caught breaking your learners permit restrictions, both you and your supervising driver will be cited. You can find detailed information about the penalties in the Rhode Island drivers manual, but in most cases, a moving violation results in a 30 day suspension of your driving privilege. If you are cited more than once, your driving privilege may be canceled and you may not be allowed to re-apply for a permit or a license until you are at least 18 years of age.