Kentucky Amish Buggy Accident

Kentucky Amish SMV problems continue.

If you missed it, on Saturday, a Graves County teenage buggy driver was cited for failure to display the SMV triangle after his buggy was hit and dragged into a ditch.

ky amish teen smvFive children were in the carriage, ages 7 to 15 (Amish children operate horse-drawn vehicles from a young age).   Luckily they were unhurt.

It should also be noted that the driver of the vehicle was cited for DUI and leaving the scene of the crime.

Graves County is where Amish were recently sentenced to jail for failure to display the triangle.

Reader Oldkat comments:

Whether this issue is ultimately resolved to the satisfaction of the Amish community or to that of the state one thing is certain; the SMV signs WILL DO LITTLE TO ACTUALLY SOLVE THE PROBLEM.  Will the buggies be easier to see; especially at night? Probably. Will the motoring public slow down one iota even after seeing the SMV symbol on the buggy? Honestly? It is very doubtful.

I will NEVER drive any of my horse drawn vehicles on a public roadway after dark; even if I had flashing red and white LED lights over every square inch of the rear end of the vehicle, because people that are not going to slow down will not slow down regardless what they see.  It will only impact the small minority of drivers that are already courteous and careful…(continued)

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    1. Though annoying there is no legitimate reason for the Amish not to comply and use the SMV Triangle. The scripture says to comply with the authorities. But as Oldkat said, the real issue is the attitude of motorized drivers who often have no sensitivity to the slower buggies’ needs and often even harbor an attitude of dereliction and disdain. I do however think that large front and rear lights should also be legally required if the buggies are on a public road at all, whether it is night or day.

    2. Leon A. Hadden

      As I understand it, the Amish that are declining to use the triangle, have offered the solution of using reflective tape on their buggies. I think that this would provide a much better visual alert. The tape would be more visible at eye level than the triangle at bumper level.
      Letting the public know that this will be the norm would, I believe, cut down on accidents.
      Having said that, I also believe that unsafe drivers of vehicles are more at fault than the Amis.h

      1. Ruth

        KY Amish teen

        I agree with you, Leon. Having lived in Ohio near Holmes Co and in Western PA near an Amish community I know that those bumper level triangle signs are hard to see, especially at night. Reflective tape if properly applied to the buggies would be easier to see. Vehicle drivers, especially in areas where slow moving vehicles are known to travel should always be aware. In today’s age of electronics and drivers using their cellphones and texting are not watching the highway. Not only are there buggies in those Amish/Mennonite communities but there are bicycles, scooters, skates, and yes even skateboards as well as those traveling on foot. So drivers be aware of your surroundings. There are circumstances such as cresting a hill or rounding a curve that a driver may unexpectedly find a buggy but they are responsible for their speed and the control of their own vehicle.

    3. Analyzing buggy crash studies

      Here is an interesting analysis of buggy crash causes. The researcher analyzes 4 previous studies. Based on this analysis it appears that by sheer number, more crashes occur during the day, though at least 2 researchers hypothesized that the actual crash rate is higher at night:

      In summarizing these four studies, researchers have found that:
      • a majority of crashes occur during the day, and researchers (ODOT,
      2000 and Dempski, 1993) also suspect that the crash rate for buggies 7
      is higher at night than day, though neither puts forth conclusive
      • rear-end crashes are the most common.
      • an intoxicated motorist is a noted cause of crashes.
      • road geometry that creates poor sight distances, especially on grades
      and at intersections, is a major cause of crashes.
      • both motorist and buggy driver errors contribute to crashes.

      1. I also found this interesting, from the same paper as above, especially the first point:

        Where the researchers diverge in findings and conclusions is in regards to:
        • buggy conspicuity as a causative factor. Ives and Brotman (1990)
        suggest that the camouflaged appearance is a typical cause while
        ODOT (2000) does not list it as a typical cause.
        • extent to which an out-of-control horse contributes to a crash,
        mentioned only as a major causative factor in Piacentini (2003).

    4. Do Not Be Dead Right

      Yes, when an automobile is driven by a careless or reckless person ‘accidents’ are their fault, whether a buggy is marked or not. Just the same a word for the Amish, especially for Amish parents to urge their children to heed, and something we all know anyway; “It is better to be safe – than ‘Dead’ right.

    5. Richard from Amish Stories

      This guy is lucky that he didn't kill anyone!

      Another example of why i feel the Amish in this community, and all the others need either the slow moving vehicle sign’s or the reflective tape. The jerk driving the car needs to have his license taken away for a certain amount of time (or forever) depending if this is his first time or not, and a huge fine at the very least. He’s lucky that he didn’t kill anyone in the process and facing vehicle homicide charges. Richard

    6. Ellie

      drunk drivers

      I personally am sick and tired of drunk drivers being regarded as “oh, it’s something everyone does from time to time.” No. No, it’s not. It’s very dangerous, incredibly selfish, and I am always amazed to hear about drivers who’ve been caught on their fifth, sixth, or tenth drunk driving violation. It goes against my grain to judge, but Im not judging the person I suppose – just very upset with their conduct.

    7. Karen

      I wonder how the parents of the children feel knowing their son was DUI while he had the children in the buggy?? I hope they do not trust him to take the children out again. He should be charged just the same as non-Amish for DUI and leaving the scene of the accident.

      1. OldKat

        I think it was the driver of the automobile that was DUI; because it talked about the Amish buggy driver not having the SMV symbol, then stated that the “other” driver was cited for DUI … unless I am misreading the article.

        1. Car driver DUI

          That’s correct, I didn’t realize it might be read that way. It was the car driver with the DUI.

    8. Ed

      It seems the Amish buggy driver was doubly victimized here: first a drunk driver rams his buggy into a ditch and then drives off. Then, it is the buggy driver who receives a citation, for failure to have an orange triangle.

      I don’t think an orange triangle would have done anything to prevent this accident, or for that matter, any daytime accident (by their nature, reflective triangles reflect headlights at night when it is dark, not when it is daytime and sunny).

      Still, I hope some solution can be found to the SMV triangle controversy. As long as buggies and cars share the same roads, both are responsible for operating them as safely as possible.

    9. Ky Amish Friend

      Karen, Really

      The guy in the buggy wasn’t drunk Karen, the driver of the vehicle which was 60 years old was drunk and hit the buggy, left the scene and went home, the kids in the buggy weren’t hurt. Read the story before you make such a ludicrous comment

    10. Christina Creede


      Hi I believe that The Amish are considered Pedestrians in the DMV handbook. I cant swear to it but I thought that is what I read. So if you hit a person walking that is a pedestrian you killed a person. In this case the woman killed two people, two lives lost. I live in an Amish Community I have alot of respect for these people I wish more Englishers did as well.