Laws to Increase Safety Will Go Into Effect Soon-Changes are on the Radar for Motorists
Frankfort, KY (July 6, 2006) – Just months after Governor Ernie Fletcher signed three bills into law, quick clearance, graduated driver’s license, and primary seat belt legislation will take effect soon.
“Each of these laws will improve safety on our highways,” said Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert. “By implementing this legislation, we will see reduced crash rates and fewer fatalities and injuries.”
The quick clearance law will go into effect in a few short days, July 12. This law allows for crash sites to be quickly cleared from the highways which will decrease the rate of secondary accidents. It addresses the problems of motorist safety as well as clogged interstates and parkways following traffic accidents, and codifies incident management procedures for quick clearance. The term “quick clearance” is defined as the practice of rapidly and safely removing temporary obstructions from the roadway.
Teen drivers will see changes in how they obtain their drivers’ licenses beginning October 1, 2006. The graduated driver’s license law will create an intermediate period of six months for teen drivers between the learner’s permit and a full license. During this period, teenagers will have a full license with two restrictions on their driving privileges.
The goal of the legislation is to curb the overall number of crashes involving teenage drivers, especially the high number of fatal crashes with teen involvement. Kentucky currently has one of the highest teen crash rates in the nation. Teenage drivers account for only 6 percent of the state’s driving population, yet they are involved in about 18 percent of fatal crashes in Kentucky.
Starting on July 12, major changes to the state’s seat belt law will take effect that allow law enforcement officers the authority to pull over a motorist primarily for not wearing a seat belt. However, drivers will have a grace period before citations are issued. Until January 1, 2007, law enforcement will only issue warnings to unbuckled motorists. On January 1, violation of the law will result in a $25 fine.
Recent research from the University of Kentucky’s Transportation Center and from the Kentucky Institute of Medicine revealed projections concerning the impact a primary seat belt law will have on Kentucky families and the state’s economy:
-At least 62 fewer fatalities per year
-388 fewer incapacitating spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries
-1,051 fewer non-incapacitating injuries from accidents involving passenger vehicles and light trucks
-Kentucky’s Medicaid budget would save a minimum of $40.9 million over 10 years, including $2.2 million the first year and $585,000 per year for long-term medical care
-Kentucky would save $324 million in comprehensive costs (lost life years and productivity)
To review the new bills log on to http://www.lrc.ky.gov/home.htm.