Politics & Government

House approves bill requiring reflective tape on Amish buggies

Some Amish have resisted using orange reflective safety triangles citing religious reasons. Ten men in the Swartzentruber sect have been jailed in Western Kentucky for not paying fines after they didn't display the slow-moving vehicle signs.
Some Amish have resisted using orange reflective safety triangles citing religious reasons. Ten men in the Swartzentruber sect have been jailed in Western Kentucky for not paying fines after they didn't display the slow-moving vehicle signs. ASSOCIATED PRESS

FRANKFORT — The House passed a measure Tuesday that would allow the Amish to use white metallic reflective tape on their horse-drawn buggies instead of an orange triangle.

The House voted 90-9 to approve House Bill 133, which allows all slow-moving vehicles, not just Amish buggies, the option of using white reflective tape to designate their status as such.

The measure now goes to the Senate, which unanimously approved its own version of the proposal earlier this month.

Rep. Fred Nesler, D-Mayfield, spoke against the bill, arguing that putting orange triangles on slow-moving vehicles has been a nationally recognized symbol for 40 years. Graves County has seen many accidents involving Amish buggies because many Amish residents have refused to use the orange triangles, Nesler said.

The refusal of some Amish to use safety triangles for religious reasons has led to court action in Western Kentucky. District Judge Deborah Crooks in Graves County recently issued jail sentences ranging from three to 13 days to nine Amish men who refused to pay traffic fines for not using the emblems. The Kentucky Supreme Court is to hear their appeal.

The men belong to a nationwide conservative sect called Swartzentruber. Its members reject on religious grounds the use of brightly colored triangles on their horse-drawn buggies.

The bill's sponsor, Democratic Rep. Johnny Bell of Glasgow, said orange triangles are not a national symbol. He said white reflective tape is used on school buses and slow-moving equipment, such as coal-mining machinery, because the tape is more reflective than the orange triangle.

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