LANSING, Mich. — A set of companion bills introduced in the Michigan House and Senate would require horse-drawn buggies to display lights while operating on the roads at night.
Both bills were put forward by Republican lawmakers on Thursday, Nov. 7. They propose that horse-drawn buggies would need two lights on the front, two lights on the back and two amber warning lights.
The lights would need to be illuminated at night or during times of low visibility and heavy traffic, according to the lawmakers. If the bills become law, violators would face a $200 fine.
In 2019, there have been five reported crashes involving horse-drawn buggies and motorized vehicles in southwest Michigan. In those crashes, six children were killed.
The Senate bill was introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) who says the bill would make the roadways safer for buggies and motor vehicles.
Michigan has a population of about 15,000 Amish, according to the World Population Review.
“Michigan has one of the fastest-growing Amish populations in the nation, with over 15,000 members,” said VanderWall. “This growing population has led to more crashes, so the need to make reasonable changes to the law to increase safety has become increasingly important.”
Similar laws have been passed in Pennsylvania and Maine, states that have a significantly larger Amish populations than Michigan.
Both the House and the Senate bills have been referred to transportation committees. Two other bills have been introduced in the Michigan Senate that are focused on safety and horse-drawn buggies. One would require buggy owners to register their carriages. Another would require all vehicles, including buggies, to use tires made out of rubber when using public highways.
“This package of bills was developed after several meetings with Amish leaders, road commissioners and others with a vested interest in finding solutions,” VanderWall said. “I am grateful for the many valuable ideas brought to the table.”
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