Kentucky Motorist Info

The following information is updated periodically. However, laws and regulations can change between updates. State statutes and local ordinances are the ultimate authorities for these issues.

Points of Interest

  • A license to carry a concealed firearm issued to a nonresident by another state shall be honored if such state provides reciprocal privilege.
  • Out-of-state driver’s license issued to a person under 16 years of age is not valid on Kentucky streets and highways.
  • Kentucky joined the Interstate Driver’s License Compact in 1996 according to the state. However, several court cases (Schuetz v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania & James Howard Smith v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) have suggested that they never passed the necessary legislation to enforce the Compact. Unfortunately, these court cases are now several years old and may no longer be relevant.

Speed Limits

Rural Interstates: Cars 65*, Trucks 65*
Urban Interstates: Cars 65, Trucks 65
Other Limited Access Roads: Cars 65, Trucks 65

* 70 on specific segments, based on an engineering and traffic investigation
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These speed limits apply unless a different limit is posted.

Speed limits are absolute–exceeding the speed limit is illegal per se (regardless of whether it was safe under the specific conditions).

Speed Limits Enforcement Techniques
Enforced through use of:
Pacing: Yes
Radar: Yes
Vascar: Yes
Automated Speed Enforcement: No
Aircraft: Yes
Laser: Yes

DUI / DWI Regulations
Click here for detailed information

Ticket Payment Options
Consult your ticket or clerk of courts

Trial By Declaration Allowed
No

Discovery
Allowed with provisions

Jury Trial Allowed
Speeding: Yes
Parking: Yes
Equipment: Yes
DWI: Yes

Member of Nonresident Compact
Yes

Member of Driver License Compact
Yes

When and Where to File Accident Reports
Accidents involving death, personal injury, or total property damage exceeding $500 must be reported by the owner or operator of the vehicle (if the accident is not investigated by the authorities) within 10 days to the Justice Cabinet, Frankfort, KY 40601.

Resident Insurance Requirements
Liability insurance is required (although some states allow posting a cash bond or such as an alternative)
Minimum Coverage Required:
Injury to one person: $25,000
All injuries: $50,000
Property Damage: $10,000
(Total accident liability cap of $60,000)
Uninsured motorist coverage is required

Phone/Texting Restrictions
Hand-Held Ban: No
All Cell Phone Ban: Drivers younger than 18, School Bus Drivers
Texting Ban: All drivers
Enforcement: Primary: for all offenses

Other Regulations

  • Open intoxicants are prohibited in the vehicle.
  • The BAC level is .08%.
  • Kentucky has an administrative license suspension law and an implied consent law. The breathalyzer refusal penalty is a 6-month driver’s license revocation.
  • Firearms (rifles, shotguns, and handguns) may be carried loaded and in plain view; loaded handguns may be carried in the vehicle glove compartment.
  • Studded tires are permitted.
  • Tire chains are not required.
  • Kentucky has a seat belt law with secondary enforcement for all occupants.
  • Kentucky has a mandatory child restraint law for passengers under 40 inches tall, requiring the use of approved car safety seats.
  • Motorcycle riders 21 years of age and older are exempt from the helmet law.
  • Registration and insurance card must be carried in the vehicle.

General Information
Telephone: 502/564-4890 (Transportation Cabinet)
Emergency Cellular Phone Number: 911