In Kentucky, the cost of a speeding ticket, or traffic citation, depends on how far over the speed limit the driver was driving and whether they were in a school or construction zone during the incident. A speeding ticket typically ranges between $1 and $55 if a driver was going between 1 and 25 mph over the speed limit and can range between $60 and $100 if a driver was going 26 mph or more over the speed limit.
A motorist who is ordered to appear in court must also pay court costs. These are generally upwards of $134 per case, but not every driver is ordered to court for a speeding ticket.
Doubling of Fines
The fine for a speeding ticket is doubled in a school zone where school buses are loading or unloading students and have flashing lights. A fine is also doubled in a highway work zone. In order for a fine to be doubled in a highway work zone, there must be:
- Signs displayed that inform drivers of the existence of a highway work zone and that fines are doubled.
- At least one bona fide worker present in the work zone at the time of the incident.
After Getting a Speeding Ticket in Kentucky
A driver who gets a speeding ticket has certain options:
- Appear in court, representing oneself or by an attorney to contest the charges. Pleading not guilty requires appearing in court on the date provided on the citation.
- Apply for state traffic school, an option that is available to a defendant once per year.
- Prepay the ticket prior to the court date.
- Apply to attend a local traffic safety program, if available.
Ineligibility for Local Traffic Safety Programs
An offender is not eligible for a local traffic safety program such as Drive Safe Louisville if they:
- Were driving without a valid unrestricted license.
- Were driving without valid insurance.
- Have participated in a county attorney traffic safety program within the past two years.
- Have a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
How to Pay Kentucky Traffic Ticket Costs
A driver can pay a traffic ticket at most Kentucky driver’s license branches. (They may be disallowed from paying at certain specific branches, such as a downtown branch.) The driver must have the citation in hand in order to make a payment.
A driver must make a payment at least three business days prior to their first court date. They can also make a payment online, by phone or in person at the traffic division of their local courthouse. A driver should prepay their ticket by using the worksheet the officer gave them with the speeding citation. They will add the violation amount on the back to the court costs.
Other Costs After an Infraction
The fee for attending a local traffic safety program like Drive Safe Louisville varies. That program costs $179. The cost of attending state traffic school typically ranges between $15 for in-person school and $39 for online school. A driver who gets a speeding ticket may also have to pay a higher cost for car insurance.
A driver who does not challenge a ticket will have a conviction on their court records. This can cause them to not be considered for certain types of employment, such as jobs that involve driving.
Penalties for Reckless Driving
Kentucky law does not strictly define reckless driving. This means that there is no set number of miles per hour over the speed limit that constitutes reckless driving. The statute provides that an operator of a vehicle on a highway must operate the vehicle in a careful manner, with regard for the safety and convenience of pedestrians and other vehicles upon the highway.
Further, a person is not allowed to willfully operate a vehicle on a highway in such a manner as to injure the highway. When a person is convicted of reckless driving in Kentucky, they can expect to pay a fine up to $100. They will receive four points against their driver history.
Kentucky Point System
Kentucky awards points against a driver who commits moving violations. The state counts the following:
- Zero points against a driver going 10 mph or less over the speed limit on a limited access highway.
- 3 points against a driver going 11 to 15 mph over the speed limit on a limited access highway.
- 3 points against a driver going 15 mph or less over the speed limit on any limited non-access highway.
- 6 points against a driver going over 16 to 25 mph over the speed limit on any road or highway.
- A hearing or possible suspension for a driver going 26 mph or over the speed limit.
For drivers 18 and up, accumulating 12 points within two years may result in a suspended driver’s license. For drivers under 18, only seven points is needed to result in a driver’s license suspension. An individual may meet with a hearing officer before any potential loss of driving privileges.
Kentucky Driving Records
Kentucky maintains an individual’s driving record for five years. Points assessed for traffic violations are removed two years from the date of the conviction rather than from the date of the citation. The violation remains on the driver's record for five years. A three-year record is also maintained for insurance companies to access.
If a driver fails to appear for a hearing related to an accumulation of 12 points, their driver’s license will be suspended for six months for the first accumulation; one year for the second accumulation; and two years for a subsequent accumulation of 12 points within two years.
Assessment of Penalties After Hearing
After a hearing, the Kentucky Department of Transportation may require a driver to be placed on probation instead of suffering a suspension. The department may also require the driver to attend a Kentucky state traffic school. After a driver has been placed on probation, they will not be considered for probation again until two years from the end of a prior probation period, whether the defendant served the probation or not.
An out-of-state speeding citation does not transfer points to Kentucky. This rule does not apply to speeding citations received in a commercial vehicle.
Typical Speed Limits
Where there is no speed limit posted, Kentucky’s speed limits are typically 15 mph in off-street parking facilities, between 25 and 45 mph in or near a school, and 35 mph in residential areas and within towns. The limits are 55 mph on open highways and limited access highways in urban areas and 65 mph on rural interstate and limited access highways. A law enforcement officer is most likely to ticket a driver going 10 mph or over the posted or legal limit.
- Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, April 2021: New and Revised Policies
- Drive Safe Louisville: Homepage
- Kentucky Revised Statutes: Section 189.394 Fines for Speeding, Doubling of Fines in School Areas With Flashing Lights
- Kentucky Revised Statutes: Section 189.2327 Doubling of Fines in Highway Work Zones
- Kentucky Department of Motor Vehicles: Kentucky Driver Point System
- Kentucky Revised Statutes: Section 182.290 Reckless Driving
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.