Kentucky Traffic Rule 2024 Update: Understanding the Right Turn on Red Rule

Kentucky drivers are no strangers to the red arrow at an intersection, indicating that they must stop and wait for the green signal before turning right. However, starting from 2024, Kentucky implemented a new traffic rule that allows drivers to turn right on red at certain intersections, as long as they follow some specific guidelines. This article explains the details of this update, its benefits and drawbacks, and some tips for drivers to safely navigate the new rule.

What is the Right Turn on Red Rule?

The right turn on red (RTOR) rule is a traffic regulation that permits drivers to turn right after coming to a complete stop at a red light, provided it is safe to do so. The rule is intended to improve traffic flow and reduce fuel consumption and emissions by minimizing idling time at intersections.

However, the RTOR rule is not applicable at all intersections. Drivers can only turn right on red at intersections that are marked by a specific traffic sign bearing a right-pointing arrow and the words “Right Turn on Red Allowed.” Drivers must also yield to any pedestrians or oncoming vehicles in the crosswalk or intersection, including cyclists, motorcyclists, and other micromobility users. Turning right on red remains strictly prohibited at all other intersections, even if there are no apparent vehicles or pedestrians.

Why did Kentucky Adopt the Right Turn on Red Rule?

Kentucky was one of the few states that did not allow RTOR at any intersection, a policy driven by concerns for pedestrian safety. However, this approach also meant increased idling and potential traffic congestion, particularly during off-peak hours. According to a study by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, allowing RTOR at selected intersections could save drivers up to 5.7 million hours and 2.8 million gallons of fuel per year.

The new rule was implemented in 2024 after a pilot program in 2023 that tested the feasibility and impact of RTOR at 50 intersections across the state. The results showed that RTOR did not increase the number of crashes or injuries, and in fact reduced the average delay for right-turning vehicles by 36%. Based on these findings, the state decided to expand the rule to more than 1,000 intersections that met the criteria for RTOR, such as low pedestrian volume, adequate sight distance, and clear signage.

How to Safely Follow the Right Turn on Red Rule?

Adapting to the new rule requires not just awareness but also responsible driving practices. Here are some practical tips for drivers:

Familiarize yourself with the RTOR signage. Pay close attention to intersections and identify those with the proper sign and wording. Do not assume that you can turn right on red at any intersection.

Always come to a complete stop before the red light, even if there are no oncoming vehicles. Rolling through the stop sign or attempting a quick turn risks both fines and pedestrian safety.

Yield to pedestrians and all other traffic in the crosswalk or intersection. Look both ways and check for any blind spots before proceeding. Remember that pedestrians have the right of way and may not expect you to turn right on red.

Follow the speed limit and use your turn signal. Do not accelerate or turn abruptly, as this may cause collisions or confusion. Indicate your intention to turn right by using your turn signal well in advance.

Be courteous and patient. Do not honk, tailgate, or pressure other drivers who are waiting for the green light or yielding to pedestrians. Respect their decision and wait for your turn.


The right turn on red rule is a new traffic regulation that aims to improve traffic flow and reduce fuel consumption and emissions in Kentucky. However, it also comes with some challenges and responsibilities for drivers, who must follow the specific guidelines and signage for RTOR and prioritize pedestrian safety. By following these tips, drivers can safely and smoothly navigate the new rule and enjoy its benefits.

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