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Defining "reasonable and prudent" speed

Many in Richmond may question the decision to seek compensation following a car accident, believing that auto insurance coverage makes such action unnecessary. Yet in many cases, insurance coverage is not enough to cover all of the costs of an accident, particularly when fatalities are involved (which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported as occurring in 834 cases in Kentucky alone in 2016). Yet seeking action following a car accident first requires assigning liability to one of the parties involved. 

The simplest method for determining liability is often identifying which driver's action were the most reckless. Speeding is often a standard in defining reckless driving, yet many will often prove ignorance in not knowing the speed limits in the areas where their accidents occurred. Kentucky law, however, has assigned general speed limits to certain areas to establish a baseline to be followed in areas where such limits are not clearly marked. According to Section 189.390(3) of Kentucky's Motor Vehicle Code, these are as follows: 

  • 65 miles-per-hour on interstate highways and parkways
  • 55 miles-per-hour on any other state highway
  • 35 miles-per-hour in business districts and residential neighborhoods
  • 15 miles-per-hour in parking facilities offered for public use

Simply because one is driving under the posted or implied speed limits does not, however, mean that he or she is not driving too fast. The law also states that one should never drive at a speed which is not reasonable and prudent under the given conditions. Road and weather conditions can change almost instantly, requiring drivers to be just as adaptable in order to maintain their own safety as well of that of others. Thus, a driver can still be cited (and deemed to be driving recklessly) if road conditions made driving safely at the speed limit unreasonable. 

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Shumate, Flaherty, Eubanks & Baechtold

225 West Irvine Street
Richmond, KY 40475

Toll Free: 800-494-9916
Phone: 859-353-0878
Fax: 859-623-6406
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P.O. Box 157
Richmond, KY 40476