Of Buggies and Blinkers: An Essay on the 2022 Ohio Buggy Lighting Law


  • Joseph F. Donnermeyer School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University
  • Erik Wesner Founder and Editor, Amish America
  • Dee Jepsen College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, The Ohio State University




buggy safety, SMV, Swartzentruber Amish, reflector tape


Buggy safety long has been an issue in the state of Ohio and elsewhere. As their population grows, and rural roads become increasingly crowded with cars and trucks, safety will continue to be a concern to the Amish, public officials and the general public. In 2022, the governor of Ohio signed a mandatory lighting law for Amish buggies. Even though a large share of the Amish either already had a blinking light on the back of their buggies or conformed to the new law, some conservative groups, especially conservative Swartzentruber Amish groups, have resisted. This article discusses the history of attempts to increase buggy visibility and road safety and the developments behind the current controversy. It includes a brief statistical summary on the number of buggies in the Greater Holmes County settlement who either display a blinking amber light or do not, plus briefs visits to other Amish and buggy-driving Mennonite groups in Ohio. Also included are selected comments about the new Ohio law from readers on the Amish America website. The article concludes with a brief discussion of the possible outcomes from an issue that will likely extend into 2024 and beyond before a solution is found for all Amish affiliations.






Fieldwork and Reflections