Safety Laws in Kentucky
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Per KRS 189.125, the driver and all passengers in a moving vehicle must wear seat belts. Exceptions include:
- USPS letter carriers on duty.
- Drivers or passengers with disabilities that make it unsafe or impossible to wear a seat belt, in which case a letter from the person's physician must be present.
- Children who are properly restrained in child safety seats (see below).
KRS 189.125 and the Kentucky Drivers Manual make it clear that drivers must secure all children who are 40 inches in height and below in approved child safety seats. This is known as Kentucky's Child Restraint Law.
Violating the law can result in a $50 fine and an extra $10 donation―out of your pocket―to the Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund.
If you need assistance on how to install a car seat, visit the Kentucky State Police's Child Safety Seat Inspection Site.
According to the Kentucky motorcycle manual, all motorcycle riders under the age of 21 must wear helmets. You can find more specifics about this law, as well as the requirement for all motorcycle riders to wear protective eye gear, in KRS 189.285.
KRS 189.515 makes it clear that ATV riders must wear approved protective headgear, i.e. helmets, unless they're:
- Riding on private property.
- Using the ATV for farming, agricultural, mining, or logging purposes.
- Using the ATV for any other industrial, commercial, or business purpose.
To date, there is no law that requires Kentucky bicycle riders to wear helmets while they ride; however, we recommend checking out DMV.org's special reports Helmets: A Matter of Choice? and How To Buy the Right Helmet.
All drivers under 18 are banned from cell phone usage.
Texting is illegal for all drivers of all ages.
Kentucky's laws regarding headlamps are covered in KRS 189.030. In short, when you're driving in Kentucky, your headlamps must be on a half hour after sunset and a half hour before sunrise.
You must also use your headlamps whenever the visibility conditions are less than optimal. Think rain, sleet, snow, and fog.
If you suspect that someone is driving under the influence, call 911 and report it.
If you feel someone is driving in an unsafe manner due to age or medical conditions, you should contact the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet or law enforcement with details about the situation and for instructions on what to do next.
Brush up on page 31 of the Kentucky Drivers Manual if you're in a hurry and considering leaving a child unattended in your vehicle. It's illegal to leave a child under the age of eight unattended.
For the same reasons you should never leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle (extreme weather conditions, bodily harm, life endangerment, kidnapping), you should never leave your pet unattended. Even if your pet is in a carrier and can't jump around on the gearshift, extreme heat puts your pet's life at risk.
- The Kentucky Drivers Manual. Note that Section Four of the manual acts as a motorcycle manual and provides motorcycle-related safety laws.
- Kentucky's Commercial Driver License Manual, which provides safe driving laws in various situations, such as when dealing with tanks and hazardous materials.
- DMV.org's Kentucky Teen Drivers section. Here you'll find laws, rules, and regulations specific to teen drivers.
- DMV.org's Kentucky DUI section, which covers rules and consequences related to driving under the influence.
Other Topics in This Section
- Traffic Alerts
- 511 Traffic Systems
- Tire Recalls
- Safety Laws
- How Emotions Affect Driving
- Driving in Hazardous Conditions
- Teen Drivers: A Beginner's Guide
- Seniors: When To Turn Over The Car Keys
- Packing Your First-Aid Kit
- Seven Senior Safety Suggestions
- Wildlife on the Road
- When to Call Wildlife Rescue
- Taking A Mature Driver Course
- Medications & Driving
- Night Driving
- Hallucinations on the Road
- How To Drive Distraction Free
- Treating Motion Sickness
- Road Rage: How To Deal With It
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- Safety Laws On Children, Pets, and Vehicles
- Bicycle Safety Laws: Learn Your State’s Helmet Laws, Traffic Laws, and More
We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.