Kentucky’s Cellphone-Use & Texting-While-Driving Laws

Read about Kentucky’s distracted driving laws and the costs of a violation.

Kentucky’s distracted driving laws prohibit text messaging for all drivers and talking on a cellphone for only certain drivers. This article discusses the specifics of what the laws prohibit and the costs of a texting or cellphone ticket.

Talking on a Cellphone

For most Kentucky motorists, there are no restrictions on talking on a cellphone while driving.

However, for motorists who are under the age of 18 and driving with an instruction permit, intermediate license, or operator’s license, all “personal communication device” use while operating a vehicle that’s in motion is prohibited. In other words, these underage drivers aren’t allowed to text message or talk on a phone while driving.

Exceptions. The underage cellphone ban doesn’t apply to communications made to summon medical help, law enforcement, or a public safety agency in an emergency. And using a GPS or navigation system isn’t prohibited so long as the driver does not manually enter information into the system while driving.

Fines and points. An underage texting or cellphone conviction carries a $25 fine for a first violation and a $50 fine for second or subsequent violations. A conviction can also delay the driver in obtaining an intermediate license and add demerit points to the motorist’s driving record.

Texting Messaging

For all Kentucky drivers, it’s illegal to use a personal communication device to read, write, or send a text message while operating a vehicle that’s in motion. The prohibition includes regular text messages, instant messages, and email.

Exceptions. The texting-while-driving law contains a number of exceptions. The law doesn’t apply to:

  • using the GPS feature of a personal communication device
  • using a GPS or navigation system that’s physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle
  • reading, selecting, or entering a telephone number or name of a person to make a phone call
  • an operator of an emergency or public safety vehicle when necessary to perform official duties
  • reporting illegal activity
  • summoning medical help
  • summoning law enforcement, or
  • communications necessary to prevent injury to a person or property.

Fines and points. A texting ticket will cost the driver $25 fine for a first violation and a $50 fine for second or subsequent violations. The conviction will also add three points to the motorist’s driving record.

Other Possible Charges

Depending on the circumstances, a texting or cellphone violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if one of these violations results in the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are a possibility.

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