COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio House on Tuesday passed a bill that would require flashing lights on the backs of Amish buggies, a move meant to cut down on dangerous crashes.

House Bill 501 is now headed to the Ohio Senate for approval after clearing the House with a 74-10 vote. It would toughen existing law that requires animal-drawn vehicles to have two red lights on the back and a white light on the front after dusk.

Amish were consulted to some degree:

The bill’s lead sponsors — Republican Reps. Darrell Kick, of Loudonville and Scott Wiggam of Wooster — said the law change will make Ohio’s roads safer. They said they consulted with Amish leaders and buggy manufacturers among others as they drafted the bill.

There are on average 120 crashes involving horse-drawn vehicles in Ohio each year, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

“This is a quick, inexpensive and easy fix to a big problem,” Kick said.

This also assumes that adding flashing lights constitutes an “easy fix”. The text of the bill is accessible here.

What I haven’t seen addressed is the fact that the state has the largest Swartzentruber Amish population. They do not use battery-powered lights on buggies, only lanterns. Checking the actual text of the bill, the words do in fact refer to “flashing lights” being required. Can lanterns be made to flash?

The districts of the two congressman in question include the state’s largest Swartzentruber communities. If and when this law passes and they are not in compliance, what happens next?

Did the congressmen get the agreement of those communities to go along with installing flashing lights – which would be a pretty big change for them? Anything is possible I suppose, but I am doubtful.

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