Motor and Other Vehicles

Applicability of Traffic Regulations

SECTION 31-12-12

§ 31-12-12. Powers of local authorities.

(a) The provisions of chapters 12 – 27 of this title shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power from:

(1) Regulating the standing or parking of vehicles;

(2) Regulating traffic by means of police officers or traffic control signals;

(3) Regulating or prohibiting processions or assemblages on the highways;

(4) Designating particular highways as one-way highways and requiring that all vehicles on them be moved in one specific direction;

(5) Regulating the speed of vehicles in public parks;

(6) Designating any highway as a through highway and requiring that all vehicles stop before entering or crossing the highway or designating any intersection as a stop intersection and requiring all vehicles to stop at one or more entrances to the stop intersection;

(7) Restricting the use of highways as authorized in §§ 31-25-25 and 31-25-26;

(8) Regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and licensing of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee;

(9) Regulating or prohibiting the turning of vehicles or specified types of vehicles at intersections;

(10) Altering the prima facie speed limits as authorized by these chapters;

(11) Adopting any other traffic regulations that are specifically authorized by chapters 12 – 27 of this title.

(b) The city council of the city of Woonsocket is authorized and empowered to enact ordinances providing that the chief of police, or the police officers as he or she may from time to time designate, may impound, by means of a "Denver boot" or other immobilization device, or cause to be impounded, through the agency of a person or persons in the employ of the city of Woonsocket or the police department, or by independent contractor, any vehicle parked or standing on any part of any way under the control of the city, if in the calendar year in which the vehicle is so impounded and in the preceding calendar year, the aggregate of five (5) or more notices of violation of any ordinances adopted for the regulation of parking of motor vehicles whether adopted prior to or subsequent to the passage of this chapter), have been affixed to the vehicle. The ordinance shall provide for a post-impoundment hearing which shall be held between the time of impoundment and not more than seven (7) days afterwards, at which any defense may be asserted. The ordinance may impose liability for the reasonable cost of the impoundment on the owner of the vehicle, and may provide that if a vehicle is so impounded, the vehicle shall be held until all fines and charges lawfully imposed for the impoundment have been paid. The police department shall promptly mail written notice to the registered owner of the impounded vehicle, directed to the address furnished by the division of motor vehicles of motor vehicles or comparable agency of the state in which the vehicle is registered, stating the date on which the vehicle was impounded, the location at which it was impounded, and a statement that it will be released on the payment of all fines and charges lawfully imposed for the impoundment If, after thirty (30) days of mailing of the notice to the registered owner as provided for in this subsection, the owner has not paid all fines and charges imposed for the impounding, the vehicle so impounded shall be deemed to have been abandoned and may be disposed of in accordance with §§ 31-22-14, 31-22-15, 31-22-17 and 31-22-18, first applying the proceeds to pay all fines and charges imposed for the impoundment. Vehicles owned by the state or a political subdivision of it; by the United States or any instrumentality of it; or registered by a member of a foreign diplomatic corps or by a foreign consular officer who is a citizen of the United States and bearing a distinctive number plate or otherwise conspicuously marked as so owned or registered; and vehicles and persons described in §§ 31-28-4, 31-28-6 and 31-28-7; shall not, however, be subject to impoundment. Violations of this section are subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1950, ch. 2595, art. 21, § 8; G.L. 1956, § 31-12-12; P.L. 1983, ch. 249, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 292, § 107.)