Kentucky’s Governor Steve Beshear has directed the state’s Transportation Cabinet to assess penalty points on the licenses of drivers who are cited and found to have violated Kentucky’s law against texting while driving. The announcement didn’t provide a start date for the increased penalty but said the Cabinet would begin enforcing this new rule “soon.”
According to the Governor’s office, a driver will incur three points for each texting-while-driving violation. The state’s Transportation Cabinet can suspend the licenses of drivers who incur a set number of penalty points in a two-year period. The number of points is 12 in two years for drivers 18 and older and seven points for drivers under the age of 18.
Kentucky’s governor’s office said Beshear submitted a bill, House Bill 294, as part of a package of highway safety legislation to the state’s 2013 General Assembly, but that although the bill was approved by the House Transportation Committee, it never reached a vote before the Assembly adjourned. Beshear said he decided to have the Transportation Cabinet add the penalty via administrative regulation.
Beshear’s office noted that in 2012, 53,600 crashes were attributed to driver distraction, which includes cell phone use as a cause.