THP: Amish buggy crashes on the rise

LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A surge of crashes involving Amish buggies in Middle Tennessee has officials sending out a warning.

According to WTVF, THP has seen an upswing of crashes in Lawrence County.

"It is kind of the hub for the Amish communities throughout the state," said Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Christopher Dye, who runs the Lawrence Co THP office.

In the past, THP says they haven't seen that many problems; however, distraction has contributed to the rise of incidents.

"Distraction is probably one of the main reasons why we've seen a huge increase of buggies being struck by cars," Lt. Dye said.

In previous years, THP reported one or two crashes in the county per-year. In 2018, however, the number of buggy-involved crashes is already at six, with two months left in the year.

While that may not sound like many crashes, THP says crashes involving the buggies are especially dangerous.

"There's no protection for the occupants inside the buggy, " Dye said. "There's no seatbelts, there's no passenger restraints whatsoever. A lot of times they're traveling with their family and young children."

According to WTVF, child restraint laws do not apply to buggies and children are sitting unrestrained in the cart.

In August, 28-year-old Jonas Mast died in a crash, leaving behind five daughters.

Troopers say that car drivers are at fault.

"What we want people to understand is horses and buggies have the same right of way as a passenger car," said Dye.