Ohio Buggies New Law: Flashing Amber Strobe Lights–an advancement comparable to the Tri-Color Triangle–required as of 8-22. Internal dissent revealed among conservatives… in a good way

June, 2022. In a Safety/Visibility Advance that is intended to bring some Amish kicking and screaming (at least a percentage of them) into the 21st century and OFF the sides of the roads as statistics, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed a bill requiring Amish buggies and other animal-drawn vehicles to display a yellow flashing light while driving on public streets. House Bill 30 is intended to reduce the crashes between Amish buggies and modern vehicles. The effective date of this law is August 31, 2022.

As reported by amishamerica.com and cleveland.com, the Ohio Amish now stand poised to lead the rest of the country by stepping up their road safety practices thru the display of bright amber strobe lights (LEDs or true strobes) on the tops of their buggy roofs by night and also during the day. I personally have seen such strobes in use there a couple of years back in the daytime and they CAN be effective… IF the units sold are strong, bright ones and not the mediocre dimmer ones that are lame by comparison (and I saw both). The strong ones undoubtedly are more expensive and draw down the batteries quicker, so a built-in problem will be with those people who buy the cheaper, dimmer ones that do have longer battery life… being satisfied that they are keeping within the letter of the law (though at the expense of substantially lessened visibility).

The better lights will help for sure, just at our Tri-Color Triangle(TM) helps; both being much more eye catching by day, dusk and night… bright safety items that stand out in ways for safety ends that unfortunately are at odds with the Plain Peoples’ desires to be unobtrusive and under the radar… though each item dramatically serving to lessen the likelihood of being hit in traffic.

Quoting from amishamerica, “How does this stand to affect the state’s plainest Amish groups, primarily the Swartzentrubers? Requiring a flashing light mounted on top of a vehicle did not seem to (the author) to be something acceptable to those plainest Amish”… people that refuse to use even a conventional triangle (SMV emblem) or use regular battery-powered flashing buggy lights (they run dim kerosene lanterns instead).

What is heartening, though, is the undercurrent of welling sentiment among some of the Swartzentrubers to break loose of their historical reluctance to safety advances–that of course serve their own interests (plus those of the public at large)–as evidenced in some of the Amish letters of support for the law while it was in consideration, including ones from this sub-group.

Who am I? Just a plain Swartzentruber Amish man with a family with the least amount of ‘reflectors’ and lighting on my buggy.”

What are my concerns? Road safety for you and me. I never want to be hit again.”

“I’ve been hit twice. The last time I was in the shade. The buggy was black and the road was also black with a fresh rain. I was almost invisible. Since (then) I have had a big fear to be on the road… because we are at times almost invisible.”

“We still have only one lantern and 72 (sq. in.) of ‘reflective’ tape on the back (no triangle) plus some up front.”
Do people get hurt or killed? Yes, a few of my friends have been killed and many hurt including me and my parents. That’s not (all of) it. The English (motorists) have to live with that feeling to have hit somebody.”

“I am very sorry for that. Most of this could have been prevented, including my accident, by one simple step: (using the newly-mandated) Strobe Light.” [NOTE: it goes without saying, but I’ll say it, that using a regular OR new style Tri-Color Triangle, plus additional modern battery buggy lighting would be logical, rational additional Simple Steps!]
Top 10 reasons why our (Ohio) slow-moving vehicle laws need to change.

1., For everyone’s safety, we are not only putting (ourselves) at risk but also the general public.

4., It is not against our religion to have a flashing light…. [NOTE: nor is it to have a standard OR new-style Tri-Color TRIANGLE].

6., A large part of our group, including our safety committee, want a change but fear to voice their opinions.

7., The public roads are not ours and we should follow the laws or stay off the roads.

10., A large part of our group, including our safety committee, would support the above (proposed new strobe light law), except for the FEAR from a small group of people.” [NOTE: such ‘fears’ undoubtedly also come into play for some Amish groups considering changing to using the Tri-Color Triangle, while no such fears come into play for other Amish groups].

Concerning Swartzentruber buggies. We have seen a lot of car and buggy crashes. Many loved ones and friends were injured or killed. We as members of the church would like the State to improve our safety in some way. We also hope that the law does not blame the members for not having more safety lights… [NOTE: how about TRIANGLES??]… on our buggies (for) as a rule, church members do not have a vote in such matters. It is up to the Bishops–what they want.”
(Continued) : “The members will have to apply (what the Bishops want) even if the law does not permit it. …Members can not put more lighting (or TRIANGLES) on their buggies unless our Bishop tells us.

For us younger members, it seems very scary to drive on the public road in the dark with only dim lighting which motorized vehicles hardly (can) see at all. But we want safety for all parties. To God we pray for our Government.”

See also our page “Safety, Insurance, God and the Amish