Kentucky Distracted Driving Laws
- Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary Law).
- Ban on all cell phone (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary Law).
- Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary Law).
- Preemption Law prohibits localities from enacting distracted driving bans.
Kentucky’s Texting While Driving Stand
According to local reports, roughly one hundred and fifty tickets were passed out in the first six months of Kentucky’s Distracted Driving Laws active enforcement. Police began issuing tickets on January 1, 2011, in accordance with the ban on text messaging by any and all drivers which were initially put into effect in July of 2010. Along with this ban, statewide law prohibits the use of any and all personal communications devices by drivers under the age of eighteen years old.
2010 Legislation Regarding Kentucky Distracted Driving
SB 23: Prohibits text messaging while operating a motor vehicle on any and all Kentucky roads and highways. It would also ban the use of all communications devices by motorists with a learner’s permit under the age of 18. The bill was supported by HB 415 (mentioned above), and was approved by the House and Senate.
HB 415: Bans text messaging for all drivers and also bans the use of personal communications devices by motorists less than 18 years of age with learner’s permits. This bill was approved by the House and Senate on April 1st and then signed into law by the governor on April 15th. (It incorporates SB 23, listed below.) The law took effect on July 15th, with a warning period that lasted until the start of 2011.
HB 43: Would prohibit text messaging while being behind the wheel of a motor vehicle in motion. Also, it seeks to outlaw the use of any and all personal communications devices by all drivers under the age of 18 (amendment) with fines ranging from $20 to $100 dollars depending on the severity and number of offenses. HB 43 was approved by the House Transportation Committee on January 26th, then by the full House on February 4th, and has now advanced to the Senate.
HB 232: Seeks to outlaw all text messaging, as well as, use of any and all handheld cell phones by all drivers. Cell phone use is allowed as long as it is a hands-free device. Fines for HB 232 range from $20 to $100 following a first violation warning. HB 232 did not clear the committee.
HB 27: Would outlaw any and all text messaging in Kentucky for any person operating a motor vehicle and ban the use of cell phones by motorists under the age of 18; fines are $50.
2009 Kentucky Distracted Driving Legislation
HB 46 (BR 267): Would ban the use of any and all wireless communication devices by any driver under the age of 18, regardless of whether or not there is a hands-free device being employed. HB 46 died in the committee.
HB 41 (BR 135): Would ban the use of any and all wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle, unless the driver is employing a hands-free device. This bill died in committee.
HB 41, from the 2009 session, called for the use of handheld personal communications devices as a secondary offense, with fines ranging between $20 and $100. This bill was sponsored by Rep. David Floyd, (R-Bardstown). Motorcycle and moped riders would also be prohibited from the use of any and all wireless devices.
Kentucky‘s Current prohibitions include:
Text messaging is prohibited for any and all drivers while the motor vehicle is in motion.
The fines are $25.00 the first offense and then $50.00 plus court costs for following offenses. Usage of personal handheld electronics is banned for drivers under the age of eighteen years old is prohibited while driving. Fines remain the same as mentioned above; however, in addition, drivers with restricted licenses have to wait 180 days to apply for regular licensing. School bus operators are banned from the use of cell phones while transporting children.
During 2009, over 200 fatalities occurred on Kentucky’s roads and highways that were blamed on distracted driving. Distracted driving played a role in over 57,000 accidents in total.