Car accident in the street

Horse v. Car Accident in Whitley County Kentucky: Warning Against Use of Roadways by Slow-Moving Transportation

Matthew Troutman Dec. 26, 2022

There are many challenges to driving safely on the roadways such as inclement weather, distractions inside the vehicle, vehicle mechanical issues, and mistakes from other drivers. You expect to encounter these types of challenges on occasion while attempting to drive safely to your destination. However, there are also some unusual challenges to driving safely that none of us expect to encounter on the road. One of those unusual challenges occurred on December 21, 2022, when a vehicle driven by Robert Walker, of Corbin, ran into a horse and its 18-year-old passenger that was riding the horse on the roadway after dark. The accident happened on Bee Creek Road in Whitley County, KY and as a result of the accident the horse died and its passenger was injured and taken to the hospital. This accident begs the question about the wisdom of using slow-moving transportation on roadways in Kentucky.

Except in Emergencies, Do Not Use Slow Moving Transportation at Night

No matter how long you have been driving, you just don’t expect to encounter a horse on the roadway in the dark. The headlights on your vehicle are not going to pick up the horse soon enough for your brain to realize what you are seeing and be able to stop your vehicle in time. The horse is moving too slowly and your headlights will not pick up this dark figure soon enough to avoid the accident. Whenever we encounter unusual dangers on the roadway, your reaction time is slower because even after you see the danger, it takes your brain a few moments to appreciate it because it is so unexpected.

Any slow-moving transportation without significant warning lights and other precautions, in my opinion, should never be on a roadway at night. This would apply to tractors, bicycles, pedestrians, all-terrain vehicles, mopeds, horses and anything that operates at a slow speed. Even if you are in an automobile or a tractor-trailer or any vehicle that can operate at a normal speed, but temporarily cannot due to mechanical or other issues, it should not be on the roadway. Due to the nature of the turns and hills on roadways there is not sufficient opportunity for the normal traffic to react to the slow- moving vehicles.

If there is an emergency, then precautions need to be taken to make sure that normal traffic has more than enough opportunity to react to your slow-moving vehicle. Warning lights or escort vehicles need to be employed in order to not endanger other vehicles on the roadway. I represented the estate of a man killed when he ran into to the back of a tractor-trailer that was driving at a slow speed due to mechanical issues. The decedent ran into the back of the tractor trailer because a hill and curve in the roadway prevented him from seeing the slow-moving vehicle in his lane until it was too late.

Do Not Operate Slow Moving Transportation in The Daylight on Roads with The Speed Limit Over 35 Mph Unless There Are Significant Warning Measures in Place

If our goal is to safely drive from one destination to the other and it is our desire to reduce the 700 or more deaths per year on Kentucky roadways, then slow moving transportation should not be used on roadways with a speed limit above 35mph. The nature of the roadways, with turns and hills, prevent normal traffic from reacting to slow moving transportation safely. I am sure there are many bicyclists that would disagree with my opinion, but they are being naïve about normal traffic being able to see them after a turn in the roadway or over a hill. A reflector on the back of a bicycle or bright clothing worn by the rider will not help a car, driving 55 mph over a rise in the roadway, be able to stop before striking a bicyclist traveling 10 mph.

What Does Kentucky Law Say About Slow-Moving Vehicles on the Roadways

Kentucky’s laws are inconsistent and permissive when it comes to slow moving transportation. Bicyclists are not prevented from driving on any roadways and in fact are defined under KRS 189 as “Motor Vehicles.” KRS 189.282 specifically addresses low-speed vehicles and they are limited to roadway use to roads with maximum speed of 35 mph. However, KRS 189.289 allows a low-speed scooter to operate on a highway without restrictions except during the night-time hours. KRS 189.570 allows pedestrians on state highways and roadways but restricts where on the roadway they may walk.

These laws are the results of lobby efforts from many different groups, but, in my opinion, do not reflect a proper concern for safety of everyone involved. Where the law does not provide adequate guidance, we must use our own common sense to live safely.

Contact Kentucky Auto Accident Lawyer

The circumstances in the nighttime accident in Whitley County, described above, will require the services of an experienced Kentucky auto accident attorney to investigate and locate all available evidence to determine liability and to maximize all insurance benefits available to anyone injured in this auto accident. Matthew Troutman, Kentucky auto accident lawyer, of the Troutman Law Office has been handling auto accident claims, almost exclusively, since 1986 and has the experience and talent to obtain the best result for the victims in the above car accident.

If you need legal assistance due to a motor vehicle accident, contact Kentucky auto accident attorney Matthew Troutman directly at 859-696-0001 or 502-648-9507 and he will meet with you in the hospital, your home or wherever is convenient for you. He will give you direct access through his cell phone and guide you through the difficult process necessary to obtain the best result possible for you in your car accident claim. To learn more about the Troutman Law Office, click here.