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After an accident, many people wonder if they can move their car, or are they supposed to wait for police to show up? What if the car is in one of the traffic lanes? For example, someone rear-ends another car on the freeway in the far right-hand lane and the cars are still driveable, some motorists will move out of the road onto the shoulder and wait for police. However, sometimes the motorist will insist that the law requires them to not move the vehicles until the police arrive.

In Kentucky, not only are you able to move your vehicle, in some cases you are required to, unless there is an injury.

Kentucky State Law

In Kentucky the law actually requires you to move your cars out of traffic and to a safe location unless there is a visible injury, death or there are hazardous materials in one of the vehicles. The purpose of the law is the safety of the people involved in the crash and to those out in traffic who are vulnerable to secondary crashes trying to stop or avoid the stopped cars.

Kentucky Motor Vehicle Code Section 189.580 states that for an accident that happens on a freeway, highway or parkway, that “does not involve death, known or visible injury, or the transportation of hazardous material, the operator shall move the vehicle off the roadway to a place as close to the accident scene as practicable without obstructing traffic as soon as the vehicle can be moved without the risk of further injury or damage.”

The word “shall” means that it is required, and if two cars get into an accident and come to a rest in traffic, then they need to drive the cars to the side of the road so long as they are able to drive, no one was injured or died and not hazardous materials involved.

Kentucky law also allows anyone else with a valid driver’s license to drive another person’s car off the road if they are unable to do so. Police are also allowed to driver the car off the road and can request a tow truck to move the vehicle if the position of the car is in traffic and a safety hazard.

In a rear-end accident in April, 2019, a Florida Highway Patrol Helicopter spotted two cars that collided on Brandon Boulevard approaching the onramp to I-75 and had stopped in one of the middle lanes. A video shows several near misses that could have caused serios injuries, especially one near miss involving a motorcycle. This poignantly illustrates how important it is to remove the cars from traffic.

What if I’m Injured?

If either driver is “visibly injured” then Kentucky law requires that the cars not be moved. This is to preserve the accident scene for investigators. However, the phrase visibly injured can leave some wiggle room so that if someone feels that their car being left on the street is causing an extreme danger of another crash to go ahead and move their vehicle.

If you were involved in a crash an sustained an injury, contact us for a free, confidential consultation.