Indiana has the third largest Amish population of any state in the United States, behind only Ohio and Pennsylvania. The largest and oldest Amish settlements in Indiana are located in Elkhart and LaGrange counties. Unfortunately for those communities, distracted drivers crash into their buggies all too often. There were 20 such accidents just in Elkhart last year and more recently there have been two such
accidents in the last month and a half. These include one accident on May 29th when a buggy carrying an Amish couple and their 6 week-old baby was rear ended by a 17 year-old driver who says she was distracted and another accident on June 2nd when another buggy carrying an Amish woman and her 4 year-old child was rear-ended by a distracted driver. Luckily, neither of these accidents resulted in life threatening injuries, but they obviously could due to the large discrepancy in size, weight, and makeup of cars vs. buggies. Most drivers don’t expect to come into contact with horse drawn carriages outside the ones seen in parks of metropolitan cities, but in Indiana we must be cognizant of the fact that in rural areas we share the road with buggies.
There are a few issues that lead to buggy accidents. First, these accidents are often caused by motorists overestimating how much time they have before they’ll reach a horse-drawn buggy. This is due to the exponential difference in speed the two vehicles are travelling at. Second, buggies can also be difficult to see at night because of their lack of lighting and generally dark coloration. Third, buggies tend to operate in rural areas with curvy, hilly roads that make it difficult to see slow moving vehicles such as a buggy. These issues make it difficult enough to avoid buggies, when you add in distracted driving you inevitably end up with accidents such as the two mentioned above. What’s scary is that these accidents often result in devastating injuries due to the fact that buggies don’t come equipped with safety features such as seat belts.
There are a few ways these issue can be addressed. First, buggy lanes could be added to roads where Amish populations are higher, in fact this has been done in several areas. Second, people can slow down a little and be on the lookout for buggies. Third, put your cell phone down (you don’t need to text and drive or play Pokemon Go) and let your passenger control the radio so that you aren’t distracted.
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, including buggy accidents, call the Law Office of William W. Hurst, LLC today at (317) 636-0808 or Contact Us Here. We have the experience and the resources to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.