TITLE 31
Motor and Other vehicles

CHAPTER 31-10.3
Rhode Island Uniform Commercial Driver's License Act

PART 31-10.3-13
Application, Examination and Issuance

SECTION 31-10.3-31


§ 31-10.3-31 Violations – Penalties.

(a) It shall be illegal for any person driving any commercial motor vehicle as defined in this chapter to operate or control that vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, toluene, or any other substance as defined in chapter 28 of title 21. For the purpose of this chapter, any person who drives, operates, or exercises physical control of a commercial motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration of four-one-hundredths of one percent (.04%) or greater by weight, as shown by a chemical analysis of a blood, breath, or urine sample shall be guilty of the offense of driving while under the influence of liquor or drugs.

(b)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, it shall be illegal for any person to drive, operate, or be in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle while having alcohol in his or her system.

(2) The administrator shall suspend, for at least one year, a commercial motor vehicle operator's license or privilege who is found to have committed a first violation of:

(i) Driving a commercial motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances;

(ii) Driving a commercial motor vehicle while the alcohol concentration in the person's blood, breath, or other bodily substance is four-one-hundredths of one percent (.04%) or greater;

(iii) Leaving the scene of an accident involving a commercial motor vehicle driven by the person;

(iv) Using a commercial motor vehicle in the commission of a felony;

(v) Refusing to submit to a chemical analysis of breath, blood, or urine while operating a commercial vehicle.

(3) If the operator commits any of these violations while carrying hazardous materials requiring placards under federal/state regulations, the revocation shall be for a period of not less than three (3) years.

(4) The administrator shall revoke for life, which may be reduced to a period of at least ten (10) years in accordance with department of revenue regulations, a commercial motor vehicle operator's license or privilege who is found to have committed a second violation of:

(i) Driving a commercial motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances;

(ii) Driving a commercial motor vehicle while the alcohol concentration in the person's blood, breath, or other bodily substance is four-one-hundredths of one percent (.04%) or greater;

(iii) Knowingly and willfully leaving the scene of an accident involving a commercial motor vehicle driven by the person;

(iv) Using a commercial motor vehicle in the commission of a felony;

(v) Refusing to submit to a chemical analysis of breath, blood, and/or urine while in a commercial motor vehicle.

(5) The administrator shall revoke for life the commercial motor vehicle operator's license or privilege of any person who is found to have used a commercial motor vehicle in the manufacture, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance or the possession with intent to distribute, manufacture, or dispense a controlled substance.

(6) The administrator shall suspend the commercial motor vehicle operator's license or privilege for a period of not less than sixty (60) days of each person who, in a three (3) year period, has committed two (2) serious traffic violations involving a commercial motor vehicle, and for not less than one hundred twenty (120) days of each person who has committed three (3) or more serious traffic violations in a three (3) year period.

(7) Any person violating subsection (a) of this section shall, upon conviction, be subject to the fines, penalties, and assessments enumerated in § 31-27-2 for driving under the influence of liquor or drugs; except for the provision of license or privilege suspension of which the license shall be withdrawn in accordance with this chapter.

(c) Any person violating § 31-10.3-26, relating to the license to be carried and exhibited on demand, shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than fifty dollars ($50.00). For a second or subsequent conviction there shall be imposed a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100), and his or her commercial license or privilege shall be withdrawn for a period of one month.

(d) Any person violating § 31-27-1, relating to driving so as to endanger resulting in death, or § 31-27-1.1, relating to driving so as to endanger, resulting in personal injury, shall, upon conviction, have his or her commercial license or privilege revoked for a period of one year. With respect to violations of §§ 31-27-1 and 31-27-1.1, the commercial penalties shall only apply while the operator is operating a commercial vehicle; should the operator be operating a passenger vehicle, passenger penalties shall apply under §§ 31-27-1 and 31-27-1.1.

(e) Any person violating § 31-10.3-27, relating to the limitation on the number of driver licenses, shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than twenty-five hundred dollars ($2,500), and any commercial license shall be cancelled immediately.

(f) Any person violating § 31-10.3-28, relating to notification required by the employee, shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500).

(g) Any person violating § 31-10.3-29, relating to employer responsibilities, shall, upon conviction be fined not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).

(h) Any person violating subdivision (b)(1) of this section, relating to violations and penalties, shall immediately cease operating any commercial vehicle for a period of twenty-four (24) hours. Failure to do so shall result in a commercial license or privilege revocation for a period of three (3) months and a fine of one hundred fifty dollars ($150).

(i) Any person violating § 31-10.3-30, relating to the requirement of a commercial driver's license, shall, upon conviction of a first offense, be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000); and, upon conviction of a second or subsequent offense, be fined not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500). The person's commercial license or privilege shall be revoked for a period of at least one year but not more than five (5) years.

(j) The administrator may, after notice and hearing suspend a school bus driver's certificate or privilege to obtain a certificate for a period of up to five (5) years from the date of adjudication or conviction of the following:

(1) Any motor vehicle driving offense committed by a school bus driver while operating a self-propelled vehicle and which is a criminal offense in the state of Rhode Island or which, if committed outside the state, would be considered a criminal offense if committed in the state of Rhode Island;

(2) Any alcohol or drug-related motor vehicle driving offense referred to in this section and committed by a school bus operator who is operating a self-propelled vehicle.

(k)(1) "Out-of-Service Order" means a declaration by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or an authorized enforcement officer of a federal, state, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Canadian, Mexican or local jurisdiction that a driver of a commercial motor vehicle, a commercial motor vehicle or a motor carrier operation is out-of-service, pursuant to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations contained in 49 CFR Parts 383, 386, 387 and 390 – 399, as amended, or pursuant to comparable laws, or the North American Uniform Out-of-Service criteria.

(2) The term "disqualified" means the withdrawal of a person's privilege to drive a commercial motor vehicle.

(3) Any person who violates an out-of-service order shall be disqualified as follows except as provided in subdivision (4) of this subsection:

(i) A person shall be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for a period of ninety (90) days if convicted of a first violation of an out-of-service order.

(ii) A person shall be disqualified for a period of one year if convicted of a second violation of an out-of-service order during any ten (10) year period arising from separate incidents.

(iii) A person shall be disqualified for a period of three (3) years if convicted of a third or subsequent violation of an out-of-service order during any ten (10) year period arising from separate incidents.

(4) Any person who violates an out-of-service order while transporting hazardous materials or while operating a commercial motor vehicle designed or used to transport sixteen (16) or more passengers including the driver shall be disqualified as follows:

(i) A person shall be disqualified for a period of one hundred eighty (180) days if convicted of a first violation of an out-of-service order.

(ii) A person shall be disqualified for a period of three (3) years if convicted of a second or subsequent violation of an out-of-service order during any ten (10) year period arising from separate incidents.

(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, any driver who violates or fails to comply with an out-of-service order is subject to a penalty of one thousand one hundred dollars ($1,100) in addition to disqualification under this subsection.

(6) Any employer who violates an out-of-service order, or who knowingly requires or permits a driver to violate or fail to comply with an out-of-service order, is subject to a penalty of two thousand seven hundred fifty dollars ($2,750).

(l) Disqualification for railroad-highway grade crossing violation.

(1) General rule. A driver who is convicted of operating a commercial motor vehicle in violation of a federal, state, or local law or regulation pertaining to one of the following six (6) offenses at a railroad-highway grade crossing must be disqualified for the period of time specified in subsection ( l )(2) of this section:

(i) For drivers who are not required to always stop, failing to slow down and check that the tracks are clear of an approaching train;

(ii) For drivers who are not required to always stop, failing to stop before reaching the crossing, if the tracks are not clear;

(iii) For drivers who are always required to stop, failing to stop before driving onto the crossing;

(iv) For all drivers, failing to have sufficient space to drive completely through the crossing without stopping;

(v) For all drivers, failing to obey a traffic control device or the directions of an enforcement official at the crossing;

(vi) For all drivers, failing to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance.

(2) Duration of disqualification for railroad-highway grade crossing violation.

(i) First violation. A driver must be disqualified for not less than sixty (60) days if the driver is convicted of a first violation of a railroad-highway grade crossing violation.

(ii) Second violation. A driver must be disqualified for not less than one hundred twenty (120) days if, during any three (3) year period, the driver is convicted of a second railroad-highway grade crossing violation in separate incidents.

(iii) Third or subsequent violation. A driver must be disqualified for not less than one year if, during any three (3) year period, the driver is convicted of a third or subsequent railroad-highway grade crossing violation in separate incidents.

(3) Special penalties pertaining to railroad-highway grade crossing violations. An employer who is convicted of a violation of § 31-10.3-29(5) is subject to a civil penalty of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

(m) Any person shall be subject to disqualification for a conviction of operating a commercial motor vehicle when the operator's license is suspended, revoked, or cancelled or the operator is otherwise disqualified based on prior motor vehicle convictions.

(n) Any person shall be subject to disqualification in accordance with 49 CFR 383.51(b), (c), (d) and (e).

(o) The administrator shall disqualify, for up to one year, the commercial motor vehicle operator's license or driving privilege of an operator whose driving constitutes an imminent hazard.

(1) For the purposes of this section, "imminent hazard" means the existence of a condition that presents a substantial likelihood that death, serious illness, severe personal injury, or a substantial endangerment to health, property, or the environment may occur before the reasonably foreseeable completion date of a formal proceeding begun to lessen the risk of that death, illness, injury or endangerment.

(p) After issuing a disqualification for a period of thirty (30) days or less, the administrator may provide the driver an opportunity for a hearing, and must provide the driver notice of a proposed disqualification period of more than thirty (30) days and an opportunity for a hearing to present a defense to the proposed disqualification.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1990, ch. 176, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 36, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 43, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 161, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 171, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 77, § 2; P.L. 2005, ch. 82, § 2; P.L. 2008, ch. 98, § 11; P.L. 2008, ch. 145, § 11; P.L. 2009, ch. 297, § 1; P.L. 2009, ch. 298, § 1.)