The WANE news channel has aired a second report, of Indiana politicians discussing the Amish child buggy driver issue (video no longer available). The station interviewed 2 Hoosier state lawmakers.

One seems a little flustered by the issue, as if he’d like to do something but can’t for reasons like religious rights. The second says that he doesn’t think “the age factor has that much to do with it” and seems less inclined to agree with the premise.

However according to the narration both agree that it’s “dangerous”, which seems to be the reporter’s predisposition too. Yet no one seems to be backing it up with data that shows Amish children drivers are involved in more accidents. Maybe that data exists and maybe it doesn’t. Here the assumption is simply that it is dangerous, and that is the starting point of the reporting.

(It may also be possible that some interviewees are conflating the child driver issue with the bigger idea of Amish buggies in general traveling on busy highways being dangerous, though here it’s presented as if they’re only talking about the children).

I’d still maintain that all things being equal an experienced adult buggy driver is going to do better in a dangerous situation. However you can say the same thing about driving a car.

If I had the choice I’d rather ride with a 40-year-old experienced car driver than a 16-year-old freshly-licensed one. There are always going to be better and worse car drivers in any population but barring serious violations we allow them all, both the excellent and not so good, to drive.

In most states driving is legal from age 16 or 17. Maybe the skill set English possess to be able to drive a car is there for most people at age 16, and for Amish youth the buggy skill set is in place by age 10 or 12. A study would be helpful; assertion that it is simply “dangerous” because 10 seems young to non-Amish observers doesn’t prove that it is.

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