Highway Safety

Highway Safety


What to do when stopped by the police


You look into your mirror and see a patrol car behind you with its emergency lights flashing. If you are like most people, this can be a stressful experience.
Cruiser in the Mirror
Knowing what to do, and what not to do will make the experience less stressful and will help insure your safety, the safety of other motorists, and the safety of the officer.


Kentucky Law requires a motorist to pull as far as possible to the RIGHT of the traveled portion of the highway and stop when a police car approaches displaying emergency equipment. The motorist must remain stopped until the car has passed, or a police officer directs you otherwise.

When you see flashing blue lights on a patrol car, don’t panic. Simply slow down, signal your intention to turn onto the right shoulder, and drive off the roadway to the right as far as you can safely do so.

It is important that neither you nor your passengers make and sudden or undirected movements! The officer does not know who you are or your intentions.

If you are stopped at night, turn on your dome lights and show the officer that nothing is wrong. Having your light on and keeping your hands on the steering wheel will usually put the officer’s mind at a bit more ease, but he will still be cautious.


In almost all cases, the officer will at a minimum ask for your driver’s license. You are also required to have registration papers and proof of insurance, so it helps to have it ready as well. It is after the presentation of the REQUIRED documents that an explanation as to why you were stopped will be given. While the officer is approaching your vehicle, do not attempt to reach under your seat, in the glove compartment, in a console, or any other place hidden from the officer’s view.

The officer will often complete the contact without requiring you to leave your car. Sometimes it may be necessary for the officer to ask you to take a seat in the patrol car. Court cases permit the officer to decide which procedure is safest for the officer. As you exit your car, always keep your hands in plain view of the officer.

If a traffic ticket is issued by the officer, please maintain a polite and cooperative attitude. Do not attempt to debate the merits of the traffic ticket on the side of the highway. The court is the proper place to contest any grievance.

Just because the officer gives you a ticket does not automatiucally mean you are guilty or that you have to pay a fine. You have the right to go to court and to have the judge hear your explanation.


Once the officer gives you a copy of the traffic ticket, you have been served a summons (subpoena) to appear in court. Failure to appear on your scheduled court date is a violation of the law and may result in additional charges being filed against you.

In nearly all court cases which a fine is levied, court costs MUST be paid. Even if you pay the traffic violation fine by mail, the court case must still be processed through the court system. Therefore, the court cost must be paid. Court costs help fund the court system. Your local police department receives a standard amount from a state court fund is is a standard amount. The City of Fort Thomas does not benefit more or less whether officers write 100 or 1,000,000 tickets per year, the amount stays the same.

Officers may provide you with an information sheet explaining the courts mail-in procedures. The officers do not collect fines.


If you are alone or uncertain if the police officer trying to stop you is legitamate, pull over but keep your car doors locked. When your vehicle is approached by the officer, roll your window down only far enough to talk to the officer. Express your concern and desire to drive to the nearest public place. Most police officers will understand. Once there, remain in your secured vehicle until proper identification of the officer is made.

1.) If you have questions, ask the officer or call your County Prosecuting Attorney’s office. 3.) It is best to be calm and identify yourself.
2.) If the police have stopped you, they THINK they have a reason to do so. 4.) By yelling or threatening the officer, the BEST you can do is get yourself arrested. Don’t make the situation worse for you than it already is.

Highway safety facts


From the Kentucky Transportation Center, College of Engineering Traffic Safety issues opinion survey of November 1999.

Safety Belts

59 percent of those surveyed favor changing the current Safety Belt Law from secondary to primary enforcement.

Motorcycle Helmets

79 percent of those surveyed favor reinstating the requirement for motorcyclist to wear a helmet.


69 percent of those surveyed favors lowering the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) at which a driver is presumed to be driving under the influence from 0.10 to 0.08. There is a strong support (84 percent) for preventing drivers convicted of more than one DUI offense from operating their vehicle for the period their license is revoked.

Drivers Licensing

There was strong support (74 percent in favor) for a vision test, or proof of a recent eye exam, at license renewal with the opinion this should apply to all drivers.

There was a strong support (86 percent in favor) for having a program to identify, and retest drivers with a poor-driving record.

There was tremendous support (97 percent in favor) for the restrictions placed on teenage drivers provided under the graduated driver license program. This support is justified with data, which have shown a substantial reduction in crashes involving 16-year-old drivers after implementation of the graduated driver license program.

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