New Law Alert: Use Hands Free Device While Driving in Rhode Island

By Brian J. Lamoureux, & May 15, 2018Employment Law

Rhode Island’s new “hands-free” driving law goes into effect on June 1, 2018. This law prohibits you from holding your phone up to your ear while driving. The law permits the use of “hands-free” devices, such as the phone’s built-in speakerphone, a Bluetooth earpiece or similar hands-free features. Violators face a $100 fine, but there is a one-free-pass provision, which suspends the fine for first-time offenders so long as they show proof that they bought a hands-free device after they received the ticket.

Employers should ensure that their employees are aware of the law and remind them that they are expected to follow all laws when driving a company vehicle or on company-related business. This would also be a good time to revisit your employee handbook to ensure that it informs employees that they must refrain from texting while driving as well as holding their phone to their ear while driving a company car or on company business. You may also want to consider buying or making hands-free devices available for employees who are often on the road. Finally, employers should check their insurance policies to confirm they have coverage for any accidents caused by their employees while driving on duty. You do not want to discover after the fact that there is no coverage for an accident caused by your employee because at the time of the accident the employee was talking on the phone and operating a company vehicle in violation of the law.

Disclaimer: All blog posts are for informational purposes only. This blog is not legal advice and you should not use or rely on it as such. By reading this blog or our website, no attorney-client relationship is created. We do not provide legal advice to anyone except clients of the firm who have formally engaged us in writing to do so. This blog post may be considered attorney advertising in certain jurisdictions. The jurisdictions in which we practice license lawyers in the general practice of law, but do not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.

 

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Brian J. Lamoureux is a Partner with Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O'Gara LLC and a member of the Employment Law, Cyber Law, Litigation and Corporate & Business Teams. He is also Practitioner Faculty in Management (Business Law) at Providence College, his alma mater.

His extensive practice areas include complex commercial litigation, employment law, construction law, social media law, and creditors' rights. In addition to being an accomplished business litigator, he has developed into a nationally-recognized voice on cutting-edge legal issues relating to social media. He is a frequent presenter, published author, and broadcast commentator on the topic and regularly appears on WPRI-TV, NBC10 and NECN-TV, the nation's largest 24-hour regional news network. His recent newspaper columns and articles include Social Media Privacy Law Impacts EmployersShould Employees Use Facebook at Work?Privacy Rights Being Tested in the Digital AgeDigital Age Hiring Process Filled With DangerTexting in the Workplace? Dangers Abound, Email Privacy Not a Guarantee in Workplace, and Worry About Workplace Prejudice? Clean Up. Mr. Lamoureux's work has also been published in the Providence Business News and Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly.

He successfully briefed and argued before the First Circuit Court of Appeals in a case confirming surety's rights to indemnification. He was lead counsel in a successfully resolved certified class action regarding the demutualization of an insurance company before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Rhode Island, and served as trial co-counsel in one of the largest defense jury verdicts in the Federal District Court in Massachusetts.

Mr. Lamoureux has been honored for his achievements by the Providence Business News and was selected as a member of its 2011 Class of "40 Under Forty."

He earned his J.D., magna cum laude, from the Syracuse University College of Law, where he was a member of the Syracuse Law Review and Moot Court Honor Society. At the same time, he received a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island, where he was a teaching assistant in American Government and International Relations, and a B.A. in Political Science, cum laude, from Providence College.

Prior to joining PLDO, Mr. Lamoureux was a litigation partner in a large international AMLaw 200 firm. He is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and is qualified to serve as a receiver in Rhode Island Superior Court. Mr. Lamoureux is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. To reach Attorney Lamoureux, please call 401-824-5100 or email bjl@pldolaw.com.

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