2/15/2006Kentucky Senate Votes to Raise Speed Limit to 70
The Kentucky Senate votes overwhelmingly to raise the state's top speed limit to 70 MPH.
The Kentucky State Senate voted 34-2 yesterday to raise the state speed limit from 65 to 70 MPH, a move that would bring the commonwealth in line with a majority of states that have a top limit of 70 or more. Senator Brett Guthrie (R-Bowling Green) originally introduced the legislation with a separate provision allowing motorists to avoid "work zone" speeding tickets if no workers were present. The Senate Transportation Committee dropped the provision to ensure easy passage.
Already, Guthrie's bill has the support of Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) who brought up the issue in his State of the Commonwealth Address.
"At the same time I will propose that we raise the speed limit to 70 mph on appropriate highways," Fletcher said last month. "Studies suggest that this will not negatively impact highway safety."
The state House would need to approve the legislation before it could take effect.
2006 Regular Session
AN ACT relating to speed limits.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:
Section 1. KRS 189.390 is amended to read as follows:
(1) As used in this section, unless the context requires otherwise:
(a) "Business district" means the territory contiguous to and including a highway if, within six hundred (600) feet along the highway, there are buildings in use for business or industrial purposes that occupy three hundred (300) feet of frontage on one (1) side or three hundred (300) feet collectively on both sides of the highway;
(b) "Residential district" means the territory contiguous to and including a highway not comprising a business district if the property on the highway for a distance of three hundred (300) feet or more is improved with residences or residences and buildings in use for business; and
(c) "State highway" means a highway or street maintained by the Kentucky Department of Highways.
(2) An operator of a vehicle upon a highway shall not drive at a greater speed than is reasonable and prudent, having regard for the traffic and for the condition and use of the highway.
(3) The speed limit for motor vehicles on state highways within the Commonwealth shall be as follows, unless conditions exist that require lower speed for compliance with subsection (2) of this section, or the secretary of the Transportation Cabinet establishes a different speed limit in accordance with subsection (4) of this section
(a) Seventy (70) miles per hour on interstate highways and parkways;
(b) Sixty-five (65) miles per hour on all other state highways with four (4) or more lanes;
(c) Fifty-five (55) miles per hour on state highways with fewer than four (4) lanes; and
(d) Thirty-five (35) miles per hour in a business or residential district.
(4) (a) If the secretary of transportation determines, upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation, that any speed limit is greater or less than is reasonable or safe under the conditions found to exist at any intersection, or upon any part of a state highway, the secretary of transportation may establish by official order a reasonable and safe speed limit at the location. The secretary shall not increase any speed limit established by subsection (3) of this section in excess of seventy (70) miles per hour.
(b) In a highway work zone, the Transportation Cabinet may temporarily reduce established speed limits without an engineering or traffic investigation. A speed limit established under this paragraph shall become effective when and where posted. The Transportation Cabinet shall post signs notifying the traveling public of the temporary highway work zone maximum speed limit. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to prevent the Transportation Cabinet from using moveable or portable speed limit signs in highway work zones.
(5) (a) A city or a county may by ordinance establish speed limits within its own jurisdiction, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection.
(b) The alteration of speed limits on state highways within a city or a county shall not be effective until the alteration has been approved by the secretary of transportation. The secretary shall not approve any alteration that could increase any speed limit established by subsection (3) of this section in excess of seventy (70) miles per hour.
(c) If a county determines, upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation and study, that it is unsafe to park motor vehicles on or along any highway, other than a state highway, within the unincorporated areas of the county, or that in any business district the congestion of traffic justifies a reasonable limitation on the length of time any one (1) motor vehicle is permitted to park in such district so as to reduce the congestion, the fiscal court may by ordinance establish "no parking" areas on the highway, or limit the length of time any motor vehicle may be parked in any business district.
(6) The speed limit for motor vehicles in an off-street parking facility offered for public use, whether publicly or privately owned, shall be fifteen (15) miles per hour.
(7) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at a speed that will impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.
(8) In every charge for a violation of any speed limit specified in this section, the warrant or citation shall specify the speed at which the defendant is alleged to have driven, and the lawful speed limit applicable at the location where the violation is charged to have occurred.
Section 2. KRS 189.340 is amended to read as follows:
(1) Vehicles overtaking other vehicles proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of them and shall not again drive to the right until reasonably clear of those vehicles. Vehicles overtaking streetcars may pass either to the right or left when so directed by a police officer, when on a one (1) way street or where the location of the tracks prevents compliance with this section, with regard for other traffic.
(2) The operator of a vehicle may overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle only under the following conditions:
(a) When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn;
(b) Upon a roadway with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width for two (2) or more lines of vehicles moving lawfully in the direction being traveled by the overtaking vehicle.
(3) The operator of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions permitting such movements in safety. Such movement shall not be made by driving off the roadway unless passing vehicle comes to a complete stop and such movement may be made safely.
(4) No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the left side is clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the safe operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle overtaken. In every event the overtaking vehicle must return to the right-hand side of the roadway before coming within one hundred feet (100') of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.
(5) The commissioner of highways is hereby authorized to determine those portions of any highway where overtaking and passing or driving to the left of the roadway would be especially hazardous and may by appropriate signs or markings on the roadway indicate the beginning and end of such zones, and when such signs or markings are in place and clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person, every driver of a vehicle shall obey the directions thereof.
(6) Whenever any roadway has been divided into three (3) clearly marked lanes for travel, the following additional rules shall apply:
(a) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as may be practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from that lane until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety;
(b) A vehicle shall not be driven in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle where the roadway is clearly visible and the center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance, or in preparation for a left turn or where a center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the direction in which the vehicle is proceeding and is signposted to give notice of the allocation;
(c) Official signs may be erected directing slow-moving traffic to use a designated lane or allocating specified lanes to traffic moving in the same direction and operators of vehicles shall obey the directions of such signs.
(7) A vehicle shall not be driven in the left lane of any limited access highway of four (4) lanes or more with a posted speed limit of at least sixty-five (65) miles per hour, except in overtaking a slower vehicle, yielding to traffic coming onto such a highway or when traffic conditions exist which would prohibit safe use of the right or center lanes.
(8) (a) The operator of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having regard for the speed of the vehicle and the traffic upon and condition of the highway.
(b) The operator of any motor truck, semitrailer truck, bus or heavy construction equipment unit when traveling upon a highway outside of a business or residential district shall not follow within two hundred fifty (250) feet of another such vehicle or equipment unit. This subsection shall not prevent overtaking and passing, nor shall it apply to any lane specially designated for use of motor trucks or semitrailer trucks, buses or heavy construction equipment units.