What You Need to Know About Kentucky’s Texting and Driving Laws

Texting and driving in Kentucky is a primary offense that carries penalties of a $25 fine and three driving record points for a first violation.
Written by Andrea Barrett
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Texting and driving is considered a primary offense in
and carries penalties of a $25 fine and three driving record points for a first offense, as well as a $50 fine and three driving record points for any subsequent violations. Additionally, minors and school bus drivers are prohibited from using hand-held devices while driving.
latest annual traffic collision data
published on the Kentucky State Police’s website shows that driver inattention is one of the top contributing factors involved in collisions, with cell phone use ranking in the 17th spot for collisions. In 2017 alone, there were more than 1,100 collisions due to mobile device usage, nine of which were fatal, and more than 7,300 due to distracted driving.
car insurance
comparison super app
is giving you a breakdown of the texting and driving laws in Kentucky so you can stay safe. We’re diving into what the texting and driving laws in Kentucky are, the penalties you could face for checking your phone behind the wheel, and any exceptions to the law you should know about.
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What are the texting and driving laws in Kentucky?

Currently, Kentucky driving laws prohibit:
  • Cell phone use for reading, writing, or sending text messages while a vehicle is in motion
  • All cell phone use, whether hands-free or not, for drivers under the age of 18
  • Unofficial cell phone usage by school bus drivers while transporting children
Texting and driving is considered a primary enforcement law in Kentucky, meaning that an officer may cite a driver for using a handheld device without any other offense taking place.
Texting and driving can be especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive.
  • Visual distraction: Any activity or action that takes your eyes off the road
  • Manual distraction: Any activity or action that removes your hands from the wheel
  • Cognitive distraction: Anything that takes your mind off of driving
Although other distractions are equally as hazardous as texting and driving, Kentucky currently focuses on stopping the use of cell phones for the purpose of texting, while other forms of distracted driving remain unpoliced. 
Kentucky is also subject to a preemption law that prohibits local jurisdictions from enacting their own distracted driving bans.

What are the penalties for texting and driving in Kentucky? 

The penalties for texting and driving in Kentucky are a set fine and points added to your
driving record
A first offense carries penalties of a $25 fine and three points on your driving record, while a second offense and subsequent offenses carry more significant consequences: a $50 fine and three points on your driving record. 
Here’s how it breaks down:
Driving record penalties
First offense
Three points
Subsequent offenses
Three points
Drivers under the age of 18 with a permit who are caught violating the distracted driving laws are required to wait up to 180 days to apply for a regular driver’s license.
If you accumulate 12 points within two years, the state will suspend your license. Drivers under the age of 18 only need to accumulate 7 points before they face suspension.

Are there exceptions to Kentucky’s texting and driving law? 

Yes. For drivers over the age of 18, there are some exceptions to the ban on cell phone use while driving. You are allowed to use your cell phone for the following purposes:
  • Use of a GPS or other navigation system
  • Reading, selecting, or entering a phone number or name for the purpose of making a phone call
  • Sending a text message to report illegal activity, request medical help, or summon law enforcement
Currently, the texting and driving laws in Kentucky pertain only to using a cell phone while the vehicle is moving. It’s not illegal to send a text while stopped at a red light or stop sign, although this is still not recommended.

Are there special rules about texting and driving for young drivers? 

Yes. Drivers under the age of 18 are banned from using mobile devices for any reason while operating a motor vehicle, except for contacting law enforcement or requesting medical assistance in an emergency.
Key Takeaway Operating a mobile phone for the purpose of texting is illegal in Kentucky, but there are a few exceptions to the rule for adult drivers, such as using a GPS, summoning emergency help, or reporting illegal activity. 

Can texting and driving raise my insurance premium?

Yes. Texting and driving is classified as a form of distracted driving. The cost of texting and driving fines can add up quickly, but because a
distracted driving ticket
is on your driving record, your insurance premium has the potential to skyrocket.
However, the extent of the increase due to the violation depends on your insurance company and your driving history. If you have an otherwise
clean driving record
, you may not see as steep of an increase. 
Either way, the average annual insurance rate for drivers in Kentucky with a clean driving record is $1,611, which jumps to $1,862 after a distracted driving violation. While an increase of $251 doesn’t seem like a huge amount, that’s money you could be saving on a yearly basis just by putting your phone away and keeping your eyes on the road! 

How to save money on car insurance in Kentucky

Texting and driving tickets in Kentucky can be expensive—both short-term and long-term—if your insurance premium climbs. With help from a credible insurance broker and super app like
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No. Texting and driving in Kentucky will not result in jail time, but if something more serious happens as a result of distracted driving—like property damage, injuries, or death—it could lead to more severe criminal offenses, such as reckless driving or vehicular homicide.
It likely doesn’t come as a surprise that speeding and impaired driving are two major hazards on the roads, but texting and driving cause more accidents than either of these factors.
In 2017, more than 8,000 car accidents in Kentucky were the result of cell phone use and other distractions while behind the wheel. Why? Driving while talking on a cell phone can reduce brain activity related to driving by as much as 37% and slows your reaction time on a similar scale to what having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% (the legal limit) does.
To keep yourself and others on the road safe, put the phone away!
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