Police Ticket Amish Community for Failure to Comply with Traffic Law

June 7, 2002

Source: The New York Times

On June 7, 2002, The New York Times reported that a Pennsylvania "judge fined 20 members of an Amish sect today for refusing to put bright orange reflective triangles on their horse-drawn buggies, ruling that public safety overrode any religious objections... The Swartzentruber Amish argued that the garish symbols violated their beliefs. The members were ordered to pay 27 fines of $95 each for failing to use the triangle, a symbol that alerts other travelers to a slow-moving vehicle... Instead of the triangles, the Swartzentruber use a gray reflective tape and a lantern on the rear of their buggies. Gray or white tape is legal in nine states on slow-moving vehicles, including Ohio, where the sect lived until two years ago... Their lawyer, Donna M. Doblick, said she would appeal the verdict... The State Senate has approved a bill... which is now before the state's House Transportation Committee... that would allow the Swartzentruber Amish to substitute the gray reflective tape and a lantern."