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Rhode Island Speeding Laws
§ 31-14-1 Reasonable and prudent speeds. –
No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event, speed shall be so controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or other conveyance on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care. Violations of this section are subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4.
§ 31-14-2 Prima facie limits. –
(a) Where no special hazard exists that requires lower speed for compliance with § 31-14-1, the speed of any vehicle not in excess of the limits specified in this section or established as authorized in this title shall be lawful, but any speed in excess of the limits specified in this section or established as authorized in this title shall be prima facie evidence that the speed is not reasonable or prudent and that it is unlawful:
(1) Twenty-five miles per hour (25 mph) in any business or residence district;
(2) Fifty miles per hour (50 mph) in other locations during the daytime;
(3) Forty-five miles per hour (45 mph) in such other locations during the nighttime;
(4) Twenty miles per hour (20 mph) in the area within three hundred feet (300') of any school house grounds' entrances and exits during the daytime during the days when schools shall be open.
(5) The provisions of subdivision (4) of this subsection shall not apply except when appropriate warning signs are posted in proximity with the boundaries of the area within three hundred feet (300') of the school house grounds, entrances, and exits.
(b) Daytime means from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset. Nighttime means at any other hour.
(c) The prima facie speed limits set forth in this section may be altered as authorized in §§ 31-14-4 – 31-14-8.
§ 31-14-3 Conditions requiring reduced speed. –
(a) The driver of every vehicle shall, consistent with the requirements of § 31-14-1, drive at an appropriate reduced speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, when special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions and in the presence of emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights as provided in § 31-24-31, tow trucks, transporter trucks, and roadside assistance vehicles displaying flashing amber lights while assisting a disabled motor vehicle. Violations of this section are subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4.
(b) When an authorized vehicle as described in subsection (a) is parked or standing within twelve feet (12') of a roadway and is giving a warning signal by appropriate light, the driver of every other approaching vehicle shall, as soon as it is safe, and when not otherwise directed by an individual lawfully directing traffic, do one of the following:
(1) Move the vehicle into a lane that is not the lane nearest the parked or standing authorized emergency vehicle and continue traveling in that lane until safely clear of the authorized emergency vehicle. This paragraph applies only if the roadway has at least two (2) lanes for traffic proceeding in the direction of the approaching vehicle and if the approaching vehicle may change lanes safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic.
(2) Slow the vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for traffic conditions, and operate the vehicle at a reduced speed until completely past the authorized emergency vehicle. This paragraph applies only if the roadway has only one lane for traffic proceeding in the direction of the approaching vehicle or if the approaching vehicle may not change lanes safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic.
Violations of this section are subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4.
§ 31-14-12 Speed limits on bridges and structures. –
(a) No person shall drive a vehicle over any bridge or other elevated structure constituting a part of a highway at a speed which is greater than the maximum speed which can be maintained with safety to the bridge or structure, when the structure is signposted as provided in this section.
(b) The state traffic commission upon request from any local authority shall, or upon its own initiative may, conduct an investigation of any bridge or other elevated structure constituting a part of a highway. If it shall find that the structure cannot with safety to itself withstand vehicles traveling at the speed otherwise permissible under this chapter, the commission shall determine and declare the maximum speed of vehicles which the structure can withstand, and shall cause or permit suitable signs stating the maximum speed to be erected and maintained at a distance of one hundred feet (100') before each end of the structure.
(c) Upon the trial of any person charged with a violation of this section, proof of the determination of the maximum speed by the commission and the existence of the signs shall constitute conclusive evidence of the maximum speed which can be maintained with safety to the bridge or structure.
(d) Violations of this section are subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4.