TITLE 31
Motor and Other Vehicles

CHAPTER 31-10
Operators' and Chauffeurs' Licenses

SECTION 31-10-26


§ 31-10-26. Issuance of license.

(a) The division of motor vehicles shall, upon payment of the required fee, issue to every qualifying applicant an operator's or chauffeur's license. The license shall be approximately two and one-half inches (2 1/2") wide and three and one-half inches (3 1/2") long and shall bear on it a distinguishing number assigned to the licensee; the full name; date of birth; residence address; brief description of the licensee; a photograph of the licensee; whether the licensee has indicated a desire to donate tissue or organs pursuant to the provisions of chapter 18.6 of title 23; and either a space upon which the licensee shall write his or her usual signature with pen and ink or a facsimile of the signature of the licensee. No license shall be valid until it has been so signed by the licensee designated on it. A negative file of all photographs of licensees shall be maintained by the division of motor vehicles for a period of five (5) years.

(b) The division of motor vehicles shall issue an operator's or chauffeur's license pursuant to this chapter to every qualifying applicant, including, but not limited to, any current or past recipient of a grant of deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, provided any applicant subject to the DACA program shall provide evidence of having received the grant from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

(c) The division of motor vehicles shall issue special licenses to those licensees who have indicated that they desire to donate tissue or organs, which conform to the provisions of the Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, chapter 18.6.1 of title 23.

(d) Any person who is a law enforcement officer, meaning any permanently employed member of the state, city, or town police departments, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, members of the marshal's unit, capitol police, and the state fire marshal and deputy fire marshals of the division of building, design and fire professionals or a member of the department of attorney general, any permanently employed federal law enforcement officer assigned in Rhode Island, or any member of the United States Attorney's Office in Rhode Island or any employee of the R.I. department of corrections, as recommended by the director of the department of corrections, upon request of the applicant, shall be issued a license that contains the applicant's official business address in lieu of a residence address as required under the general provisions of this section.

(e) The license issued to a person applying for the first time shall be designated as a "first license". A first license shall be issued for a one-year period after which time a permanent driver's license shall be issued according to this section.

(f) If an applicant has been adjudicated for committing one moving motor vehicle violation, has been involved in one reportable motor vehicle accident, or both, he or she shall be summoned for a hearing before a judge of the traffic tribunal at which time the driving record will be reviewed. The traffic tribunal judge shall determine if the person should be granted an operator's license, be reissued a first license, or be denied a license to operate a motor vehicle in the state of Rhode Island.

(g) Any person who is under the age of twenty-one (21) years shall, upon payment of the required fee and upon meeting the qualifications for the receipt of an operator's or chauffeur's license, be issued a license that shall be readily distinguishable in color from those licenses issued to persons who are twenty-one (21) years of age or older. When a person under the age of twenty-one (21) years to whom a license has been issued and whose license is in full force and effect, attains his or her twenty-first birthday, he or she shall be entitled to receive a new license of the type issued to persons who are older than the age of twenty-one (21) years from the administrator of the division of motor vehicles upon demand at no expense. Every person shall supply to the division of motor vehicles satisfactory proof of his or her date of birth.

(h) The division of motor vehicles shall issue special licenses upon the request of a licensee that conform to the provisions of the Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, chapter 18.6.1 of title 23.

(i) The division of motor vehicles shall note in an appropriate manner a restriction on any person's license who is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system as provided in chapter 27 of this title.

(j) Any personal digitized information contained within an operator's or chauffeur's license shall be limited to: (a) the licensee's name, age, date of birth, address, gender, physical description such as weight, height, hair color and eye color, signature and organ donor status; and (b) the license number, commercial endorsements, expiration date, issue date, restriction, and class.

(k) Except to the extent an entity is authorized to renew drivers' licenses, or except for financial institutions engaged in the verification of information for financial transactions, nongovernmental entities shall not have access to any digitized information contained in an operator's or chauffeur's license other than the licensee's name, age, date of birth, signature, and photographic image, and the license's expiration date; nor shall they store, record, or retain any such information obtained through a digital reading device. Access to digitized information by these entities shall be solely for the purpose of determining the age of an individual for a transaction, right, or privilege available by law only to persons of a certain age.

(l) To the extent that nongovernmental entities shall have access to the digitized information stored on an operator's or chauffeur's license, the entity shall be civilly liable for the unauthorized access to, or retention or use of, the information by its agents or persons acting in the name of the entity.

(m) The division of motor vehicles shall collect from applicants and licensees their social security numbers and tax identification numbers only to the extent required by federal law. The numbers shall not be included, either digitally or visually, on the operator's or chauffeur's license.

(n) Issuance of a Rhode Island operator's license under this chapter to a current or past recipient of a grant of deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program shall not confer the right to vote in the state of Rhode Island.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1950, ch. 2595, art. 15, § 12; G.L. 1956, § 31-10-23; G.L. 1956, § 31-10-26; P.L. 1962, ch. 204, § 1; P.L. 1966, ch. 61, § 1; P.L. 1969, ch. 122, § 1; P.L. 1970, ch. 316, § 1; P.L. 1974, ch. 206, § 1; P.L. 1976, ch. 57, § 2; P.L. 1978, ch. 175, § 1; P.L. 1978, ch. 286, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 371, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 148, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 180, § 1; P.L. 1989, ch. 157, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 35, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 136, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 354, § 6; P.L. 1992, ch. 405, § 4; P.L. 1992, ch. 465, § 1; P.L. 1995, ch. 109, § 1; P.L. 1997, ch. 30, art. 28, § 8; P.L. 1997, ch. 110, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 462, § 1; P.L. 2018, ch. 35, § 1; P.L. 2018, ch. 36, § 1.)