Kentucky Traffic Rule 2024 Latest Update: Recognizing the Right Turn on Red Rules


Kentucky drivers are familiar with the red arrow at a junction, which indicates that they must stop and wait for the green light before turning right. However, beginning in 2024, Kentucky established a new traffic law that permits cars to turn right on red at select junctions if they follow some particular requirements.

This article describes the specifics of this modification, including its advantages and cons, as well as some recommendations for drivers on how to properly manage the new rules.

What is the Right Turn on Red Rule?

The right turn on red (RTOR) rule allows cars to turn right after coming to a complete stop at a red light, as long as it is safe to do so. The rule aims to enhance traffic flow while lowering fuel consumption and emissions by reducing idle time at junctions.

However, the RTOR rule does not apply at every crossing. Drivers may only turn right on red at junctions designated with a special traffic sign displaying a right-pointing arrow and the words “Right Turn on Red Allowed.” Drivers must also yield to pedestrians or incoming vehicles at the crosswalk or crossroads, which may include bicycles, motorcyclists, and other micromobility users. Turning right on red is still completely banned at all other junctions, even when there are no visible cars or people.

Why Did Kentucky Adopt the Right Turn on Red Rule?

Kentucky was one of the few states that prohibited RTOR at any junction, a restriction motivated by worries about pedestrian safety. However, this technique resulted in increased idling and possible traffic congestion, especially during off-peak hours. According to a study conducted by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, permitting RTOR at specified crossings may save drivers up to 5.7 million hours and 2.8 million gallons of gasoline annually.

The new law went into effect in 2024, following a trial program in 2023 that assessed the feasibility and effectiveness of RTOR at 50 junctions around the state. The findings revealed that RTOR did not increase the frequency of collisions or injuries, but rather reduced the average wait for right-turning cars by 36%. Based on these findings, the state chose to apply the regulation to over 1,000 crossings that satisfied the RTOR requirements, such as low pedestrian volume, acceptable sight distance, and clear signage.

How to Safely Follow the Right Turn on Red Rule?

Adapting to the new law involves not only knowledge but also safe driving habits. Here are some helpful recommendations for drivers:

  • Acquaint oneself with the RTOR signs. Pay particular attention to junctions and mark them with the appropriate sign and text. Don’t assume you can turn right on red at any junction.
  • Always come to a complete stop before the red light, especially if there are no incoming vehicles. Rolling past a stop sign or making a rapid turn endangers both fines and pedestrian safety.
  • Yield to pedestrians and other traffic in the crosswalk or junction. Before starting, look in both directions to ensure there are no blind spots. Remember that pedestrians have the right of way, and they may not anticipate you to turn right on red.
  • Maintain the speed limit and utilize your turn signal. Do not accelerate or turn suddenly, as this might result in crashes or disorientation. Use your turn signal early to indicate your desire to turn right.
  • Be nice and patient. Do not honk, tailgate, or put pressure on other cars waiting for a green light or yielding to pedestrians. Respect their choice and wait your turn.


In summary, Kentucky enacted a new traffic rule in 2024 that allows for right turns on red (RTOR) at certain intersections to improve traffic throughput and save idle time. This change, based on a successful pilot program, forces drivers to obey RTOR signs, come to a complete stop, yield to pedestrians, and exhibit safe driving habits. The adjustment attempts to increase efficiency while maintaining safety.

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