As the “original” member of the 13 colonies, Rhode Island situated between Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York is also part of the regional urban area of Boston and is one of the six most congested areas in the US. With a small landmass, its one million inhabitants actually put Rhode Island into the top ten densest areas in the US. With only one Interstate Highway and one partial Interstate beltway, Rhode Island does have one of the lowest highway fatality rates in the country. When in an accident in Rhode Island, follow this guideline.
Congestion and Limited Highways
Providence is the largest city in Rhode Island at only 180,000 people or almost 20% of the state’s population. However the Providence Metropolitan area is 1.6 million and includes a large portion in Massachusetts. A metropolitan area is an area that is serviced by a main city hub and relies on that hub for much of their services. With such a massive metro area, that is actually larger than the state of Rhode Island. The I95 is congested morning and evening and there is little being done to relieve the situation. The I295 Beltway around Providence does not completely encircle the city, leaving anyone commuting into Providence from Massachusetts having to deal with smaller State and US Highways.
The area is congested simply because of the hundreds of years of development from the state’s very early beginnings. Compact that with the small geographic area of state and you have an area ripe for car accidents.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Rhode Island allows all drivers to recover expenses from others involved no matter what their suspected or assigned blame in the accident. As a pure comparative fault model, you could receive 99% of the assigned blame but still receive a 1% expense recovery in a damage settlement. Essentially your damage award is lowered by the amount of fault you are assigned. Such systems typically favor drivers pursue a court settlement in order to recover “any portion of expenses possible.”
If you caused an accident, but the other driver was texting or driving distracted the blame will most likely be shared. Even a 60/40 split would mean you could recover 40% of your expenses in this system. This system could also be increasing premiums as more drivers seek recompense even if they are more at fault then the other driver.
No Points, No Tolerance
As Rhode Island does not have a demerit point system, it also has less tolerance of major offenses as just one offense could result in hefty fines, license and registration revocation, court fees, driver improvement programs, behavioral evaluation and adjustment programs and the use of driving restrictions. Every traffic offense is reported to insurance agencies and even minor speeding tickets can often increase premiums.
Two Tier DUI/DWI System
Rhode Island has two different charges concerning alcohol and controlled substances as well as a two tier system to deal with more minor offenses where only minor or no injury occurs and those accidents that cause serious injury or death. Included in the second tier of more serious consequences are included BACs higher than 0.10%.
As a first DWI offense with minor or no injuries for those over 21 you will face a $100-$300 fine, a fee of $86, license suspension between 30-180 days, up to 1 year of jail time, 10-60 hours of community service and mandatory drug and/or alcohol treatment program. Under certain circumstances IID (ignition interlock devices) can be used to lessen penalties and offer restricted driving options. Those under 18 years of age and between 0.02%-0.08% will face a DUI charge with longer license suspension times and a Highway Safety Assessment of $500. Rhode Island has a 5 year lookback period and an implied consent law. Second and subsequent offenses have harsher penalties.