Motor and Other vehicles
Motor Vehicle Reparations Act
§ 31-47-12 Police officers and agents of
administrator of the division of motor vehicles Fees collected, forms of
(a) For the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this chapter, every police
officer of a state, town, or municipality is deemed an agent of the
administrator of the division of motor vehicles. Any police officer who, in the
performance of his or her duties as authorized by law, becomes aware of a
person whose license is under an order of suspension, or whose certificate of
registration and registration plates are under an order of impoundment,
pursuant to this section may confiscate the license, certificate of
registration, and registration plates, and return them to the administrator of
the division of motor vehicles. Any forms used by law enforcement agencies in
administering this section shall be prescribed by the administrator of the
division of motor vehicles, the cost of which shall be borne by these agencies.
No police officer, law enforcement agency employing a police officer, or
political subdivision or governmental agency that employs a police officer
shall be liable in a civil action for damages or loss to persons arising out of
the performance of the duty required or authorized by this section. "Police
officer" means the full-time police from the rank of patrolman up to and
including the rank of chief, including policewomen of any police department in
any city or town within the state of Rhode Island or of the state police.
(b) All fees, except court costs, collected under this
chapter shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the highway
safety fund in a special account hereby created, to be known as the "financial
responsibility compliance special account". This special account shall be used
exclusively to cover costs incurred by the division of motor vehicles in the
administration of this chapter, and by any law enforcement agency employing any
police officer who returns any license, certificate of registration, and
registration plates to the administrator of the division of motor vehicles
pursuant to this chapter.
(c) The administrator of the division of motor vehicles,
court, or traffic tribunal may require proof of financial security to be
demonstrated by use of standard form SR 22. If the use of a standard form is
not required, a person may demonstrate proof of financial responsibility under
this section by presenting to the court, traffic tribunal, or administrator of
the division of motor vehicles any of the following documents or a copy of
(1) A certificate of proof of financial responsibility;
(2) A bond or certification of the issuance of a bond;
(3) A certificate of deposit of money or securities; or
(4) A certificate of self insurance.
(d) At the time of investigation of a motor vehicle offense
or accident by a police officer or when a motor vehicle is stopped by a police
officer for probable cause, the police officer making the investigation or
stopping the motor vehicle shall ask for evidence of proof of financial
security as defined in this chapter. Proof of financial responsibility may be
provided using a mobile electronic device; provided, however, that the police
officer requiring the proof of financial responsibility shall be prohibited
from viewing any other content on the mobile electronic device. Any person
utilizing an electronic device to provide proof of insurance shall assume any
and all liability for any damage sustained to the mobile electronic device. If
the evidence is not provided, a citation to appear before the traffic tribunal
shall be issued to the operator. However, any citation issued solely for
failing to provide evidence of financial responsibility shall be held by the
issuing police officer or law enforcement agency for at least one business day
before submitting the citation to the traffic tribunal. Any operator who
receives a citation for failing to provide valid evidence of financial
responsibility shall have the opportunity to provide evidence of financial
responsibility that existed at the time of the violation within the
one-business-day period, at which time the issuing police officer or law
enforcement agency shall withdraw the citation, and the motorist shall not be
required to appear before the traffic tribunal. Notwithstanding this provision,
police officers who issue a citation for lack of evidence of financial
responsibility, in addition to one or more other citations, need not wait the
one-business-day waiting period before submitting the citation for lack of
evidence of financial responsibility to the traffic tribunal. The traffic
tribunal may, by rule and regulation, prescribe the procedures for processing
the citations. Motor vehicles may not be stopped solely for the purpose of
checking for evidence of proof of financial security.
(e)(1) Upon a first offense, one must provide proof of
current insurance and a binder or release letter covering the cost of the
accident, as long as the accident does not include bodily injury, death, etc.
(2) In addition, penalties do not release the motorist from
any pending matter before any other appropriate court.
History of Section.
(P.L. 1991, ch. 167, § 1; P.L. 1993, ch. 182, § 1; P.L. 1993, ch.
204, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 476, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 498, § 1; P.L.
2007, ch. 513, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 24, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 28, §