The ‘Bluegrass State” is situated in the Upland South, with its eastern portion of the state part of Appalachia. Kentucky borders 7 other states and only two other states border more with 8 apiece. Car safety in Kentucky, not only has to be concerned with the states odd approach to insurance, license education and comparative fault but with its natural geography and climate variances.
Large Geographic Variances
Swamps, rivers, natural and man-made lakes, deep gorges, steep cliffs, mountains, hills, valleys and plateaus; Kentucky is a veritable cornucopia of driving extremes. With plains, swamps and mountainous regions, drivers in Kentucky often deal with very different driving conditions.
The northern part of the state often referred to as the Bluegrass Region offers the most populous area of the state, the best farming and livestock grounds because of the natural flat plateau offered in the area. East of the Bluegrass region is the Cumberland plateau with the Appalachian mountains at the eastern border of Kentucky with the flatland valley leading up to the mountains. The area is known for its rugged-ness and varying altitudes. The Mississippi or locally known Pennyroyal plateau takes up most of south-central Kentucky. It features a landscape of wonderment, with rolling hills, the world’s largest cave system and a rocky outcrop landscape with little ground level water.
The Western coalfields offer a large swath of Kentucky that offers another area with large rock outcrops and tar sands. It was once the world’s largest producing coal region. Lastly the Jackson Purchase area, the western most part of the state is home to several Cypress or Tupelo swamps. As you traverse Kentucky east to west or north to south your driving route can traverse flat plains, rolling hills, mountainous roads and some of the wettest areas in the US with swamps and one of the largest river systems of any state in the US.
With these large geographic variances, Kentucky’s weather patterns offer a large variance in average temperatures, by as much as 5 degrees between the north and south portions of the state. Kentucky is considered a humid subtropical climate and generally temperatures do not often stay below 32F or over 100F. Snow is often seen in the northern part of the state but not in amounts typically seen in more northern states. Driving hazards for weather consist mainly of heavy summer rains, sudden icy road conditions mainly in the northern part of the state during the winter and sudden Tornados as it is part of Tornado alley.
Choice No-Fault is Unique
There are only 3 states in the US that offer drivers the option to opt out of no-fault insurance and only 12 states in total with the no-fault system. Kentucky is one of those few choice no-fault state systems. However, as legislated all drivers are offered no-fault options first at any insurer, just over 90% of drivers in the state are no-fault insurance covered. This is part of what makes it more confusing as most drivers expect every accident to be conducted in the same way; through the no fault system. When a driver has traditional tort coverage insurance, it can be confusing for drivers.
The state is also unique in that it has a pure comparative fault system whereby drivers with any percentage of fault can still be assessed award damages from mediation or the courts system. This award will be reduced by the percentage of fault like in most states.
DUI in Kentucky
Kentucky has a fairly harsh penalization system for DUI’s, more harsh in some areas and less in others than other harsh penalty states. Only 4th and subsequent or Aggravated DUI in Kentucky are considered criminal offenses or felonies, but every DUI conviction is assessed a mandatory prison sentence ranging from 2 days to 1 year.
License suspensions, especially for 1st and 2nd offenses are surprisingly light in comparison at only 30-120 days for 1st and 1 year to 18 months for a second offense. Suspension times get harsher like most states for habitual offenders. Other penalties that include mandatory drug or substance abuse programs, driver education courses and community service hours as well as fines and ignition interlock make the total penalties in Kentucky very comprehensive compared to many other states.
Traffic Violations in Kentucky
Kentucky ascribes to a violations point system but with another unique process not seen in many other states. After you receive 7 or 12 points for under 18 or over 18 year old drivers you are automatically summoned to a driving privilege hearing with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to decide the fate of your license and driving privileges in Kentucky. Penalties under the system include mandatory driving education courses, driving license probation which can include restricted driving and license suspensions.
Driving in Kentucky can be a dream if you love natural views and various elevations with various topography to enjoy. With no fault insurance with an opt out, mandatory insurance and a pure comparative fault system in place, Kentucky litigation and accident claims can be a bit tricky to navigate. Hiring an effective attorney for any of these situations would be of utmost importance to ensure your driving privilege.
Did You Know That…
1. Kentucky is one of four commonwealths in the US.
2. Kentucky has the highest per capita number of deer and turkey in the US.
3. As a Choice No-Fault State Kentuckians can opt-out of no fault insurance.
4. The World’s longest cave system is in Kentucky; Mammoth Cave National Park.
5. Auto Insurance is mandatory in Kentucky.
6. KFC, the second largest restaurant chain in the world was started in Kentucky.
7. At fault accident litigants with more than 51% blame can still receive award damages in Kentucky.
8. Kentucky is home to and founded or invented Bluegrass music and Bourbon.
9. A first DUI conviction results in jail time in Kentucky.
10. Kentucky bend is an area of Kentucky entirely separate from the state, surrounded by Tennessee and Missouri.