Speed limits are definitely one of the last things that you consider when traveling to a state with as much going on as Rhode Island/ With its beautiful beaches, walkways, food, and culture!

However, the state’s traffic authority has set clear and concise guidelines that must be abided by in order to avoid receiving a traffic ticket, points on your license, insurance premium increases, and, worst-case scenario, potential jail time!

If you are moving to Rhode Island, visiting from another state, seeking some good weather and lovely beaches, or even just simply driving through the state to visit Massachusetts or Connecticut, knowing the correct speed limits in Rhode Island is such critical information to have and abide by.

What are the speed limits in Rhode Island

Understanding the correct speed limits are not only about avoiding potential punishment, it is also about driving safely on the roads to prevent accidents with another motorist or passersby from happening. Driving within the speed limit helps curb the possibility of potential crashes and car accidents, and promotes efficient use of the road, saving you from fines and potential license suspension.

Traffic laws, including speed limits and other motor vehicle-related laws, are established by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. The state speed limits are defined by two different types of speed limits, basic speeding Rhode Island law, and absolute speed limits.

The basic speeding law prohibits driving “at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual hazards then existing”. This means you must always drive at a safe speed for the conditions and environment you are driving in.

An example would be that if you were driving on a 50 mph road on a wet and rainy evening in Rhode Island, you would be required to slow down your speed to significantly less than the signed speed limit of 50 mph. This is because the weather and road conditions would be considered dangerous due to the slipperiness of the road and lack of visibility. If you were caught driving at the signed limit, you may be slapped with a fine, and potentially even worse consequences.

Speed Limit in Rhode Island

The absolute speed limit in Rhode Island is the speed limit you see signposted on roadways, there is no trick, what you see is what you get, quite literally! If the weather conditions are ideal for driving, i.e. dry, light, and ultimately safe, you may drive at the maximum speed limit you see sign-posted. Surpassing the limit will likely cost you fines and other penalties.

Rhode Island does not have the highest maximum speed limit in the United States, far from it, in fact, there are actually 40 other states that have a higher maximum speed limit than the Ocean State. The maximum speed limit at which you can travel on certain roads in Rhode Island is 65 mph.

Here are the different speed limits to look out for in Rhode Island:

  • 25 mph is the speed limit in residential areas (always double-check the posted speed limit).
  • Schools, hospitals, and construction zones mostly have lower speed limits than anywhere else in the state, so, keep a lookout for the signed limit when entering these areas!
  • 50 mph is the maximum speed limit for undivided roads.
  • 55 mph is the maximum speed limit for divided roads.
  • The urban highway speed limit in Rhode Island is 55 mph.
  • Rural highways in Rhode Island are 65 mph.
  • What is the highest speed limit in Rhode Island? Interstate highways and rural interstates in Rhode Island are 65 mph, trucks that drive on an interstate highway must drive at a maximum of 65 mph too (Rhode Island truck speed limit).

When driving through residential areas and not a state highway, something to be aware of is schools, hospitals, and construction zones, as mentioned previously, these areas often have temporarily and permanently lowered speed limits for periods before school, during the morning, and in the afternoon when students are leaving school, and enforce these limits very strictly. You don’t want to receive a hefty fine or become a danger to children for not being aware of this.

Rhode Island Speed Limit Laws

In Rhode Island, the cost of a speeding ticket is reliant on where the traffic violation took place, and also what the traffic violation was, i.e. how much did you surpass the signed speed limit. Here are the specific fines for various driving infractions in Rhode Island:

  • Violations of the basic Rhode Island speeding law = $95.
  • 1 – 10 mph over the limit = $95.
  • 1 – 10 mph over the limit second offense within 12 months = $95 plus $10 per mph over the speed limit.
  • 1 – 10 mph over the limit third offense within 12 months = $95 + $15 per mph over the speed limit.
  • 11+ more mph over the limit = $95 + $10 per mph over the speed limit.
  • 11+ mph over the limit second offense within 12 months = $95 + $15 per mph over the speed limit.
  • 11+ mph over the limit third offense within 12 months = $95 + $20 per mph over the speed limit.
  • In some situations, a speeding violation can also result in license suspension for up to 30 or 60 days.

Unlike many other states, Rhode Island does not invoke a point system, however, the state does record each speeding violation on your driving record. It is simple – if you accumulate too many moving violations, the state will suspend your license, and if it carries on, expect to receive even harsher penalties.

When visiting, passing through, or relocating your family to the state of Rhode Island, it is understandable to have your mind focused on different things and places you need to be. However, knowing what the speed limit in Rhode Island is – and adhering to the signed limits – will ensure your time is well spent and minimize the chance of you being fined or getting into an accident.