Driver and Pedestrian Duties

Illustration of a motor vehicle turning and a pedestrian woman walking across a street.

Driver and Pedestrian Duties

All states, including Kentucky and Tennessee, want to keep their citizens safe. Therefore, every state has laws that specify the legal duties for pedestrians and drivers using roadways. These duties apply to all drivers and all pedestrians. The purpose of legal duties is to decrease the risk of injuries involving pedestrian and automobile accidents. Specific language can be found at Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 189 and Tennessee Revised Code Section 55-8, but below is a summary of driver and pedestrian duties.

  • All drivers must yield to pedestrians in the roadway. Drivers must use special care when the pedestrian is a child, incapacitated person, or is using a guide dog or cane.
  • If there is a crosswalk or traffic signal that allows pedestrians to cross the road, then drivers must give pedestrians enough time and space to cross.
  • When there is no crosswalk, pedestrians should yield to drivers, but drivers are not allowed to speed through or injure pedestrians that drivers are aware of.
  • When a vehicle is stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross, other vehicles are not allowed to pass the stopped vehicle.
  • Even emergency vehicles responding to a call still owe a duty of care to pedestrians.
  • All pedestrians must obey traffic devices, such as “walk” or don’t cross” signals, unless otherwise directed by law enforcement or an official traffic monitor.
  • Pedestrians shall yield right-of-way to vehicles.
  • Pedestrians are required to use sidewalks when practicable, and if there are no sidewalks then pedestrians shall walk on the left road shoulder as far as possible from the edge of the road facing traffic.
  • Pedestrians may not suddenly leave a curb or sidewalk and enter the path of a vehicle.
  • Pedestrians shall move on the right half of crosswalks, and they may not cross an intersection diagonally.
  • Pedestrians shall not enter bridges or stand in the road to solicit a ride, employment, business, or contributions.
  • No one is allowed to stand in the road to watch or guard a vehicle that is parked or about to be parked on a street or highway.
  • An impaired pedestrian under the influence of alcohol or drugs shall not be upon a highway except on a sidewalk.

If drivers and pedestrians fail to uphold their duties and do not follow these laws, then someone is likely to be injured. Please call Crocker Law Firm if you have any questions about accidents involving a pedestrian. It does not cost anything to see if we can help.

Picture of Robin Hewitt

Robin Hewitt

Robin Hewitt is a personal injury attorney with Crocker Law Firm. She is a graduate of George Mason University and the University of Dayton School of Law.


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