KRS 189.390 (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.
Speed limits in URBAN zones.
A woman was killed on a residential street in Nicholasville KY. She was crossing her street when a driver fatally struck her.
According to Officer Grimes of Nicholasville PD, the motorist didn’t commit a crime until they fled the scene. Officer Grimes said “This could have just been a traffic accident. Where they didn’t see the individual or whatever may have happened.” In fact Officer Grimes attitude is the typical “Aw shucks. Accidents happen,” attitude so prevalent in law enforcement when it comes to driver on pedestrian crime.
While this is the opinion of a few poorly educated law enforcement officials. Is it what the statute in Kentucky actually says?
Kentucky’s traffic statutes are directly from the Uniform Vehicle Code and they are pretty basic. Every state follows these basic laws. Some states have rewritten the UVC to narrow the scope of its definitions. This can be good in that it takes something which could be interpreted one of two ways and plainly says what the intention of the law is. It can be bad in that if it is too narrowly defined you could be breaking the law and not know it.
Urban zones are areas of built up infrastructure. They include residential, businesses, and mixed use. In towns and cities with good city planning and zoning laws, you will find sidewalks, clearly marked pedestrian crossings, and lower speed limits.
The absence of pedestrian friendly infrastructure is not an excuse for striking a pedestrian with your auto.
Speed limits in Kentucky are statutorily set and can be reduced by petitioning the State Secretary of Transportation.
KRS 189.390(3) The speed limit for motor vehicles on state highways 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) Sixty-five (65) miles per hour on interstate highways and parkways;
(b) Fifty-five (55) miles per hour on all other state highways; and
(c) 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.
While the state has set the “official” maximum statutorily to 35 mph, it should be noted that the bulk of residential roads are officially set to 25 mph. Where residences and business’ are mixed the speed limit will fluctuate between 25 mph to 35 mph.
When signage indicates that the speed limit has increased to 35 mph from 25 mph, this is not a license to speed freely through. You are still charged to operate your vehicle with due care.
It is not reasonable or prudent to assume that there are no pedestrians present in a business zone. Especially if the business zone is adjacent or abuts to a residential zone.
Speeding, so much as one mile over the speed limit, has a citation code.
If you can’t stop your vehicle in time to avoid striking a pedestrian, you are traveling too fast for road conditions.
The person who killed the mother in Nicholasville should have, had they actually stopped and rendered aid, been charged with speeding and reckless driving.
Every intersection, whether clearly marked or not, is a pedestrian crossing and you are required to approach these at a prudent speed.
KRS 189.00 has defined intersections as follows:
When operating a motor vehicle in urban zones, it is always best practice to operate a few miles below the posted speed limit.
If it is dark out or if conditions prevent you from having clear visibility, it is always best practice to reduce your speed. You should travel at a speed which allows you to react quickly should something suddenly appear before you.
It goes without saying that drinking and driving do not mix. Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Distracted driving and drowsy driving are as bad as drunk driving.
I believe that if people drove their autos with as much care as is actually required to operate them, not only would we have fewer collisions but we would have fewer people eager to drive. Driving is hard work and requires your full attention. Your brain needs to be focused on the task at hand.
Watch video here. Officer Grimes interview and the description below is on the second video in the link.
You can see the 25 mph speed limit behind the reporter. Note the drivers they catch on film speeding through at 35 mph.
The myth that you can operate 10 mph over the speed limit before the police will do anything is just that, a myth. Where this myth gains momentum and becomes established as reality, is when our law enforcement takes a winking attitude towards people who speed.
Kentucky’s statutes clearly charge drivers to operate at speeds which are prudent for the conditions they are in.