Can Amish ride in cars?

Amish don’t drive cars, but for most, catching a ride is okay

amish ride carsYou won’t catch too many Amish behind the wheel of an automobile.  But you’ll often see them riding shotgun.  People sometimes wonder why Amish ride in cars, but do not drive them.

Amish do accept rides, and also often hire non-Amish to drive them places.  A business owner may travel to and from work sites with an English employee doing the driving.  An Amish housewife might ride in a van along with other Amish women to do a large shopping trip.  Amish families may ride in a similar van for an out-of-state trip to visit relatives.  Amish hire what are known as “Amish taxis”–non-Amish drivers who make a living by driving the Amish.

Amish take issue with ownership and operation of the car.  For the Amish, ownership of a car would threaten the community and family.  The car is a tool that takes members far from home.  Amish feel it has the potential to break down the bonds of their society.  Thus they keep the car at arm’s length.

However, they are practical and know that they sometimes need to travel by car.  There are few Amish groups who even restrict this practice, however.  Read more on why Amish drive buggies.
Photo credit: s_karr

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    1. Hannah

      I’m on the road in Pennsylvania and there was a car full of Amish teenage girls. Even the driver was Amish. I’m very puzzled.

    2. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Can you describe the color of the car to us? Was there much chrome on the vehicle?
      I wonder, because sometimes the different orders of Mennonites, are permitted cars, but they have to have the Chrome removed and, at least I’ve been told, the color has to be black on a car.

      I don’t know what the licensing laws are like in PA in regards to age, but there is a possibility that these “girls” are engaged in Rumspringa or “Running Around”.

      I thought I read somewhere in Amish America that sometimes Amish youth are allowed to buy a car and hold a license before being baptized then relinquish the permit upon taking up full church membership. I could be wrong though. It all probably depends on their conservatism, or maybe they where New Order girls, I haven’t read about New Order Amish lately, but it’s possible they drive..

    3. Carolann Cox


      I can drive to and from work 5 people. Reliable driver with a good driving record. Please contact Carolann Cox via email or 484-228-8661.

    4. Pat Troller

      Sunday cars

      I live an hour and a half from Shipshewana, IN and on Sundays, we love to head out there to ride around out in the country when the tourists are minimal. The last few times, I’ve been seeing cars parked at distinctly Amish farms. And not Amish taxi vans type cars. I’ve seen lifted pickup trucks, muscle cars, and certainly Non-Amish looking vehicles. Sometimes the cars are parked behind the barns, sometimes out in the open. I’m very curious about this trend. Thanks in advance!

      1. Pat, those are probably vehicles owned by Amish youth who haven’t joined the church (yet). Some Amish parents permit their children to live at home while owning a vehicle, while others do not. Northern Indiana tends to be one of the more progressive settlements so generally expected to be more lenient on this sort of thing. In some cases the youth might provide transport for the family or family business. Amish in more strict communities would likely frown on this but it’s the way things go among the different ways of being Amish in 2020.