Buggy Accidents Continue Happening Too Often

The past several weeks have seen quite a few buggy accidents in the news. The most headline-grabbing was the story of the Missouri woman who hit a buggy for the second time in a year.

The first incident last September resulted in the death of a pregnant Amish woman.

In the latest, the 83-year-old resident of Licking, MO, hit a buggy containing four youth, saying she “didn’t see it in time to get stopped.”

This crash occurred on the same road as the first. Thankfully, this one seems to have caused no serious injuries.

The story was different in Lagrange County, Indiana a week ago. A 21-year-old man was arrested for causing an accident which killed an Amish woman and her 15-year-old daughter. Alcohol was involved.

Two of the most recent reported incidents both took place in New York over the past week. Last Wednesday an accident near the Canadian border in Lisbon, NY left a 7-year-old Amish boy in critical condition (upgraded to serious), and killed the horse.

Yesterday, an 11-year-old Amish girl was injured in a hit-and-run in Rose, NY. Thankfully her injuries were minor, but police are still looking for the driver of the black Jeep Liberty involved in the wreck.

Buggy accidents have not only led to Amish injuries and deaths. Not quite a month ago in Centre County, PA, a motorcyclist crashed into the back of a buggy. The driver was killed though no one in the buggy was hurt.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning an incident that was not an accident but rather an attack. An Amish teenager needed medical attention after being struck by eggs thrown from a passing car. This occurred on Route 340 in Lancaster County.

This is not a new phenomenon. Amish have been subject to harassment and attacks in many previous incidents.

Some of this could be prevented

Not exactly happy Monday morning news to report. Some, if not all, of these cases involve negligence on the part of non-Amish drivers.

Lighting and visibility is one part of the equation here, and the Amish can do their part to make sure they are seen and drivers well-equipped to operate a horse-drawn vehicle.

But some of these accidents can be prevented by more responsible behavior on the part of non-Amish drivers.

If you’re visiting Amish country this summer, keep your head up, speed down, and have patience when passing, especially in curvy, hilly, or low visibility areas.

If you live in Amish country, I can understand that dealing with slowdowns due to buggy traffic can be an annoyance, but keep in mind that a lot of these accidents are caused by locals.

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    1. Robert

      I have Amish that live around where I live. I have been in Shipshewana In. camping and have drove back to my campsite after dark on a Sunday night. It is a scary thing, lots of buggy’s with flashing lights and some have headlights. As you drive along you have to drive really slow because you see the flashing lights but can not tell how far away they are, then all of a sudden they are right there in front of you. That is bad enough, but some area’s of Amish are out after dark with no lights or slow moving vehicle signs on back of their buggy’s, even at 30 mph with a car they are almost impossible to see. I do agree drivers do need to slow down, because when I drive around Shipshewana on side roads most drivers past me like I’m standing still. I do fill that they should all at least have lights or a slow moving vehicle emblem, but flashing lights are better.

    2. Judy Pasqualone

      I'm angry!!

      This makes me so very angry and sad that more caution is not apparent for respect for Amish people and their buggies. Or anyone for that matter!! People walking by the road or bicyclists etc….deserve extra caution. When driving a two or forty ton vehicle!!! I for one go on alert when nearing a pedestrian walking or on any type of transportation. But most expecially when traveling in a primary ahmish area! People…slow down….and proceed with caution!!! Horses can be spooked pulling these buggies!! Please show respect.

    3. Speed.

      We live in a world of speed and instant gratification. Until non Amish learn to slow down and focus on their surroundings tragedies like these and others will continue to happen.

    4. Amish Buggy Accidents

      I live in New York State around the Amish and would rather ride slowly behind that buggy work my flashers on than pass it. I’ve had horses and they can be unpredictable, no matter how well trained they are. I’m never in so much of a hurry to get somewhere that I put a human life or that of an animal in danger.

      1. OldKat

        Interesting post

        This is interesting to me, because I, too, have horses. Mine are crossbred 3/4 Percheron / 1/4 saddle horse, probably a Quarterhorse type … didn’t see the sire, but the mares were straight-bred Perch. I have seldom used them out on the road, just to avoid an incident such as this.

        The one thing that I have noticed when we do get out on the road, even when when I am just leading them the 1/4 mile down or so the road to the farrier, my mares HATE for someone to come up behind us and not pass.

        I don’t know if it is the engine noise, the smell of the cars exhaust, the fact that they can hear the car … but can’t see or what … but they do not like it. They start getting antsy and before you know it they are wanting to prance sideways, probably to get a look at the car. A car can shoot right past us, not more than two feet away, at 40 or 50 MPH (Though I wish they wouldn’t)and the horses are not near as rattled as when the driver doesn’t pass us.

        So I end up waving for the driver to go around. I am retiring in two weeks, so will be out on the road with them much more in the coming months. One thing I am going to try is driving them with open bridles (no blinkers) to see if that keeps them calmer.

      2. Mary Harrison

        Thank you! I am non-Amish, but drive for the Amish near me. It’s appalling the way people, especially truck drivers, drive around here. The trucks are usually hauling logs to the Amish sawmills. They are accidents waiting to happen.

    5. solution

      If drivers do not show respect for these people, the locality could make separate lanes for them, no motor vehicles allowed.
      After all, it was not to long ago that every one used horses for transportation.

    6. Steve

      Living in a self centered society

      I’m surprised that there are so few buggy accidents.
      With so many automobile drivers using cell phones and other destracting devices today, traffic accidents have gone way up all over the country. Whenever we drive down the road we see some person talking on their cell phone swerving around not paying attention to their surroundings. Even though here in tennessee it’s illegal to use a cell phone while driving, most people still use them. And police do not enforce the new laws. There have been stories in the news about more police getting into accidents because of the computer and phone systems that are in use in their vehicles today.
      Also more states have enacted laws requiring elderly drivers to be retested regularly once they reach a certain age. Sounds like that’s what’s needed all over the country. If I was 83 and had killed someone with my vehicle accidentally, I would totally give up driving. I can’t believe that woman continued to drive after taking someone’s life. What a sick world we live in that we put our selfish pleasures above other people’s well being.

    7. Swartzentruber neighbors

      My new neighbors in New York’s Champlain Valley are Swartzentrubers who refuse to even put orange triangles on their buggies. At night they hang a kerosene lantern on the road side of the buggy. The local police look the other way. No amount of pleading will get them to compromise for their own safety, even though the buggies are new to our roads, car drivers go too fast and drunk driving is way too common. They allow very young children to drive buggies and wagons on the road, which also is risky. Our summer tourist season is coming right up, with more car drivers on the roads who don’t know to watch for buggies. The Amish’s unbending and unreasonable adherence to their beliefs puts them, and others on the road, in danger. The police should enforce the laws and make the roads safer for everyone.

      1. Buggy Safety

        I’m glad to say I’ve never seen someone hang a kerosene lantern on the drivers side of the buggy and refuse to place the orange triangle on the back! Here in New Holland, they take every precaution imaginable–turn signals and blinking lights that are ongoing on the buggy. Even those on bicycles have obvious, bright red lights blinking. The residents in our towns also show courtesy to the Amish by getting over to the far side when they see someone approaching who is passing a buggy to allow them room. It’s called be alert and thoughtful to others on the road. I will say, however, that the residents nearly 100% of the time speed way over the speed limit on the country roads and tailgate terribly. I go the speed limit, and even 5 or 10 miles over just to see if they will back off, but they do not. Now, I pull over at every opportunity to let them get by me because I don’t like the feeling of someone crawling up the bumper of my car. Slow down, Lancaster County, PA drivers! The life you save may be your own!

    8. Amish buggy accidents

      I live in Ohio about an hour away from Holmes County. When I drive through areas, such as Mount Eaton or Mount Hope, I’m keenly aware of the heavy buggy traffic on certain roads, especially State Route 241. I feel this is their “area” so I make sure I drive slow and cautiously. With the warm weather already here, buggies are out in droves. I feel there is a shared responsibility when it comes to buggies. The Amish usually drive with caution, and we should as well.

    9. Rita

      Dangerously situation

      We live in a rural area with a lot of Amish buggies traveling the roads. Our area has lots of rolling hills and curves – beautiful to look at but dangerous when you’re driving a car at 30- 40 mph and come around a curve and find a buggy going 5mph in front of your car. Yes, we’re careful and we are looking out for them, but I am also surprised there aren’t more accidents, mainly because of the nature of our local roads.

    10. Tomara Howard

      Slow down

      The locals do need to slow down, it’s sad that too many Amishes are being injured and killed over stupid and careless people who seems like they want to hurt them. And I’m really upset by there driving

      1. Lorraine

        Buggy Safety

        I so agree with you, about how the people drive and almost seem to resent the Amish. The horse and buggy came well before the cars. We owe it to them to respect their traditions and mode of transportation. No need to drive in such a way you have no reaction time. Believe me, the weight on your heart and soul will make you very sorry if your carelessness causes a loss of innocent life! Please…Slow down, Lancaster County drivers.

    11. More Care is Needed...From Amish Too

      I love going to Lancaster. In particular bird-n-Hand, PA and Intercourse, PA areas. We typically stay at the Amishview Inn and Suites. We go around to the various shops and we see many buggies on the street. It is very precarious when there is a lot of traffic and those Amish buggy drivers have to negotiate turns with such heavy traffic on streets where there is no traffic light or stop sign. People seem to be in such a rush that they neglect to compensate their driving for a horse and buggy.

      On the same note, however. We saw a guy driving a buggy and he was on a cell phone. I will never forget that image. Just like there are crazy or reckless automobile drivers, I wonder how many Amish are the same behind the reigns of a horse and buggy. It is such a sad thing to see accidents involving them, and we’ve seen many. However, we all need to watch out for each other on the road and give due respect. The Amish live there and should be given great respect on the road.

    12. Belinda James

      Life in Lancaster Co. Amish Country

      My heart is breaking reading these horrible tragedies that occur. Equally disgusting is that our Amish are enduring harassment. We will have to pray for those who are enduring this ugliness as well as those who are perpetrating the harassment against innocent people. As far as the buggies, I feel they have every right on the road, and in fact, were around well before the car traffic. They actually should get priority in my own opinion. However, here is one word of advice I would like to give the Amish in all communities and it has to do with two buggies traveling in a row. This is HIGHLY DANGEROUS. A driver only sees one buggy in front of him and goes to pass. It is basically a surprise to see there are two buggies to pass. This is a recipe for disaster to the driver of the car, the buggies and their passengers, the horses and oncoming traffic too. Piece of advice to the Amish, please put distance between buggies, even if it means waiting for you to pull out into traffic.

    13. Sad about the buggy

      I hope we could find a way for famish buggy to be safer on the road

    14. Responsibility goes both ways.

      We live in an Amish area. Numerous times Amish (far more than English) have pulled out/crossed roads…right in front of us whereby we’ve had to throw our brakes on. No, we don’t go too fast for conditions.

      If they would have actually looked and seen us coming, one would think they’d realize that they didn’t have time to do so. Responsibility goes both ways. Also, there’s much to be said for mutual respect.

      1. Safe Driving in Amish Country

        It’s commendable that you have enough respect for the Amish and you’ve been able to avoid having an accident with a buggy. You must realize that it’s difficult to see out of the “side” of a buggy – especially behind the full length of a horse. Your visibility factor is “at least twice” as good because you have car windows all the way around and the hood of your car is only about a quarter the length of a horse. These are thing I keep in mind when driving in Amish Country in my area here in Wisconsin. I thank you, and all my Amish friends thank you for having been and continue being as observant as you are when sharing the road with some of the most wonderful people in the world.

    15. Pam


      It’s unfortunate that these incidents are happening due to
      irresponsible, reckless drivers who are not paying attention to the road and cause accidents.

    16. AJ

      A lot of people don’t pay attention to their surroundings. You read about trains hitting cars and cars hitting school buses, and it is often for the same reason a buggy gets hits.

      If you see a school zone or residential speed limit sign you slow down. You don’t drive through a red light as pedestrians walk across the street. You don’t tailgate a bicyclist or tractor. A horse going full speed is not likely to cause a serious accident by themselves. A motor vehicle involved will. That is why motor vehicles are considered a privilege to drive. People take that right for granted too often and often they take the rights of others driving a different mode of transport for granted too, showing little respect for sharing the road.

    17. Roger

      Reading about those fatalities is just horrible. IMO the fault always must lie with the operator of the motor vehicle, given its size, speed and capacity to inflict harm. The jurisdictions with significant buggy traffic have a public safety obligation to account for the safety of buggy occupants, whether through greatly reduced speed limits, separate protected lanes, or other measures. Many cities have implemented similar policies to protect cyclists and pedestrians.

      All that said, there are probably fewer injuries and deaths than if the Amish sped around their rural surroundings in cars. There were nearly 40,000 people killed in motor vehicle accidents across the USA in 2016. I sincerely hope that there are fewer than 40 Amish deaths each year, the same in proportion, due to car collisions.

    18. Buggy Accidents

      I am from Sidney, Ohio Shelby County. We have recently had Amish move into Shelby County. They hadn’t been here 2 months or so when a buggy was hit and a family was hurt,no one killed thank the Lord. But, about 2 months after that there was a buggy hit on 235. No was was killed but they were hurt. Then in May a drunk driver on St Rt 47 hit a buggy throwing all out of the buggy. The young mother holding their 4 month old baby was thrown out of the buggy and was killed. Her husband and young 2 year old son was hurt. The little boy had a skull fracture and the baby had a crushed eye orbit and they had to do surgery on her head. But praise God the children and father are healing. Drivers are going to have to slow down and pay attention.

    19. Geo

      Trucks Vs buggies

      Years ago I delivered to local stores in Ohio Indiana and Illinois areas where Amish lived. I experienced a few heart stopping experiences coming up behind buggies suddenly in front of me, possibly from a driveway or side road or around a blind curve. The extreme difference in speed means two vehicles going the same direction close so suddenly the buggy may as well be standing still. Thankfully I always avoided colliding with a couple of very close calls. The Amish certainly have the right to be there but so do motorists and just as motorists are responsible to see the Amish, the Amish need to be held responsible to be seen. The dramatic speed difference between motor vehicle and buggy is reality and must take precedence over religious dogma. Refusal of some sects to take sensible measures to be visible is unfair to others legally on the road with them, and arguably imposes a burden of their religion on others. It is patently unfair to put at risk themselves and others for arbitrary religious reasons unrelated to realities of life in a modern world we all must live in regardless of anyone’s desires to live in antiquity.