Kentucky bill drafts address road safety concerns

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 11/15/2018

Multiple state lawmakers in Kentucky have filed legislation for the upcoming regular session that cover road safety issues.

Rep. Robert Goforth, R-East Bernstadt, is behind an effort to require the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to establish an emergency contact or next-of-kin registry for holders of drivers’ licenses and nondriver identification cards. The information provided by individuals could be accessed by state transportation officials and law enforcement following incidents when a person is seriously injured, incapacitated, or dies.

Advocates say that family members and loved ones should be informed in a timely manner when a vehicle crash occurs. They add it is important to take advantage of technology that could simplify efforts to notify designated contacts.

A separate effort addresses concern about a potential roadway hazard.

Kentucky law already prohibits anyone from dropping or permitting to drop on a highway any “destructive or injurious material … and does not immediately remove it.”

Grass clippings on the highway
Rep. Regina Huff, R-Williamsburg, is pursuing legislation to add to statute reference to grass clippings. Specifically, the bill would apply the offense of criminal littering for anyone who permits “unsafe amounts of mowed grass to remain on a highway.”

Advocates say the grass clipping are a road hazard for motorcyclists due to the inability of a tire to grip a roadway covered with the debris. They add that although some Kentucky locales have ordinances against yard debris on roadways more needs to be done at the state level.

Good Samaritans for animals
Another measure from Rep. Kevin Bratcher, R-Louisville, would protect professional drivers and other good Samaritans from possible legal repercussions who step-in to provide aid to distressed animals in parked vehicles.

Kentucky law already has a Samaritan law specific to rescuing children left in vehicles.

Bratcher’s bill draft would provide immunity to anyone who breaks a vehicle window to rescue a dog or cat that appears to be in danger due to excessive heat.

Class on talking to officers
One more effort covers how to properly interact with police during a traffic stop.

Rep. Reginald Meeks, D-Louisville, is pursuing a requirement for driver’s education courses to include lessons on what drivers should do if pulled over by law enforcement.

The Kentucky State Police would also be responsible for making available via online and/or printed format a driver manual that includes the same information for people preparing for an operators’ license exam.

The bill drafts can be considered during the regular session that convenes on Jan. 8.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Kentucky, click here.



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