Kentucky Distracted Driving Laws

April 10 2024 | Kentucky Car Accident Lawyer Blog, Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
  • Kentucky Distracted Driving Statistics

    As Kentucky personal injury lawyers dedicated to serving our community, it’s our mission to ensure that every Kentuckian understands the risks and consequences associated with the reckless behavior of distracted driving.

    From cities like Louisville and Lexington, to smaller but growing towns like Bowling Green and Elizabethtown, to quiet, rural routes across Kentucky, no corner of our state is immune to the devastating impact of distracted driving accidents.

    In this blog, we’ll shed light on the alarming statistics, offer valuable insights into the legal implications of driving distracted, and provide practical tips to help you stay safe behind the wheel.

    Together, let’s work towards a safer Kentucky for everyone.

    What is distracted driving?

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving”, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving”.

    What are the types of distracted driving?

    Distracted driving can take many forms, and each can equally contribute to a crash or distracted driving fatalities. It’s important to understand the types of distracted driving so that they can be avoided at all costs.

    There are three main types of distracted driving:


    Visual distractions

    Visual distractions take your eyes off the road. This can be anything from looking at your cell phone or at scenery.

    Manual distractions

    Manual distractions take your hands off the wheel. This can include texting or other cell phone use, eating, or reaching for something in the car.

    Cognitive distractions

    Cognitive distractions take your mind off of driving. This can be caused by talking on the phone, arguing with a passenger, or daydreaming.

    Any of these distractions can be dangerous and increase your risk of getting into an accident. It’s important to stay focused on the road when you’re driving and avoid anything that could take your attention away.

    What causes driver distraction in Kentucky?

    Major causes of visual distracted driving, manual distractions, and cognitive distraction related crashes can include a wide variety of risky behavior.

    The most notable causes and contributing factors of distracted driving include:

    • Handheld cell phone use (texting, calling, browsing)
    • Adjusting vehicle controls (radio, climate controls)
    • Eating or drinking while driving
    • Interacting with passengers
    • Daydreaming or being lost in thought
    • Fatigue or drowsiness
    • External distractions (such as looking at billboards or other accidents)
    • Using navigation systems or GPS devices
    • Grooming or applying makeup while driving
    • Reading or writing (including maps or notes)

    Kentucky distracted driving statistics and traffic safety facts

    Kentucky Distracted Driving Statistics Infographic

    Download Kentucky Distracted Driving Infographic

    Distracted drivers in Kentucky and across the U.S. have contributed significantly to road accidents and fatalities in recent years.

    Kentucky distracted driving laws

    Navigating Kentucky’s roads safely involves understanding and adhering to the state’s laws on distracted driving. These regulations are in place to protect you and others on the road from the dangers posed by distractions behind the wheel. By familiarizing yourself with Kentucky’s distracted driving laws, you can play an important role in promoting safer driving habits and reducing the risk of accidents.

    There are two primary laws that address distracted driving in Kentucky


    KRS 189.292

    House Bill 415 (KRS 189.292), signed into law on April 15, 2010, bans texting for drivers of all ages while the vehicle is in motion. For drivers 18 and over, it allows the use of global positioning devices and reading, selecting or entering a telephone number or name for the purpose of making a call.

    This means that in Kentucky, texting while driving is illegal for everyone. But for drivers 18 and older, there’s some flexibility. You can still use GPS devices for navigation and access your phone to make calls by reading, selecting, or entering contact information. It’s a balance between safety and practicality on the road.

    KRS 189.294

    According to Kentucky law (KRS 189.294), drivers under 18, no use of personal communication devices is allowed while the vehicle is in motion. The use of a global positioning system is allowed, but manually entering information must be completed while the vehicle is stopped.

    In other words, under Kentucky law, drivers under the age of 18 can’t use personal communication devices while their vehicle is in motion. However, they are allowed to use a global positioning system (GPS), but any manual input of information must be done only when the vehicle is stopped. These regulations aim to reduce distractions for younger drivers and ensure that navigation tasks are conducted safely.

    How much is a texting and driving ticket in Kentucky?

    Any person who violates KRS 189.292 or KRS 189.294, which prohibit texting and driving for all ages and all cell phone use for drivers under 18, shall be fined twenty-five dollars ($25) for the first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense. (189.990 Penalties)

    A distracted driving attorney can impose higher penalties if crashes involving distracted drivers cause injuries or death

    Violations can carry more severe consequences when distracted driving is proven to be a contributing factor in a collision resulting in injury to another driver, particularly when establishing distracted driving in a personal injury claim.

    For instance, if a Louisville car accident lawyer were to demonstrate that distracted driving caused a crash resulting in injuries or death, the distracted driver might be held accountable for various damages due to their negligence, including:

    Avoid driving while distracted. Our team of personal injury lawyers in Louisville, our Bowling Green injury lawyers, Lexington accident attorneys, and Elizabethtown accident lawyers have helped victims of driver distraction throughout Kentucky for over 35 years. We have witnessed firsthand the devastating impact that a lack of driver attention can have on individuals and families. The potential risk of a crash far outweighs any distractions.

    Whether it be checking your cell phone or another electronic device, or engaging in any other behavior that may distract you from the road, just don’t do it. It’s not worth the risk.

    Tips to reduce distracted driving in Kentucky

    Safety on Kentucky’s roads is a shared responsibility, but distracted driving continues to pose significant risks. To assist drivers in the Bluegrass State, we’ve gathered practical tips designed to minimize distractions while driving.

    Before You Start Your Trip:

    • Plan Your Route: Map your trip and set your GPS navigation in advance. This ensures you’re focused on the road and not your phone while driving.
    • Silence Your Phone: Put your phone on silent or do not disturb mode. Consider placing it in the glove compartment or center console to avoid distractions.
    • Ensure Passenger Comfort: Make sure everyone in the car is buckled up and comfortable. A relaxed carpool translates to a less distracting drive for the driver.

    Maintain Focus While Driving:

    • Keep Your Eyes on the Road: Avoid looking at your phone, even for a brief glance. The road deserves your full attention.
    • Maintain a Firm Grip on the Wheel: Keep both hands on the wheel for optimal control of your vehicle, especially in unexpected situations.
    • Save Food and Drinks for Rest Stops: Avoid eating or drinking while driving. Pull over to a safe location if you need a snack or drink break.
    • Engage in Light Conversation: Keep conversations with passengers light and focused on the road. If a deeper discussion arises, pull over to a safe location to chat freely.
    • Adjust Controls Before Takeoff: Set the radio and climate controls before you begin driving. Tweaking them mid-drive can take your focus away from the road.
    • Stay Alert to Your Surroundings: Be aware of traffic signals, pedestrians, and other drivers to maintain situational awareness. This helps you react safely to changing situations.
    • Utilize Voice-Activated Features (if available): Many cars offer voice commands for calls, music selection, or texts. Use them to minimize manual interaction with your phone.

    Saving lives by combating distracted driving

    Addressing distracted driving is essential for keeping Kentucky roads safe. By reducing distractions while driving, individuals can significantly improve their ability to respond quickly to potential dangers and reduce the risk of accidents.

    Whether it’s resisting the urge to check text messages, utilizing hands-free methods for phone calls, or refraining from multitasking activities such as eating or grooming behind the wheel, every effort to minimize distractions plays a vital role in fostering safer roads for all.

    Through initiatives like awareness campaigns, educational programs, and enforcement of distracted driving laws, communities in Kentucky can help promote safe driving habits and ultimately prevent needless loss of life on our roadways.

    If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, contact us today

    Our team understands the challenges involved after a car accident, and we’re here to offer you the support and guidance you need.

    From gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance companies and pursuing legal action, our personal injury lawyers will work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. Your well-being is important to us, and we’re committed to helping you through this difficult time.

    Call us now at 800-800-4600 for a free consultation.


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