The two adults and four children injured in a roadway collision involving an Amish buggy and a motorist driving a pickup truck on S.R. 138, just east of Kincaid Road, earlier this month have all been released from the hospital, according to a dispatcher from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Post in Wilmington.
The accident came after a year in which the county has also seen the tragic death of an Amish buggy driver in February after having been hit from behind by a vehicle near New Market.
Matthew McGuire, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation, without commenting on the referenced local accidents, stated that, “distracted driving continues to be a massive problem on our roadways,” and that, “the dangers of distracted driving are often, tragically, amplified when it involves pedestrians, bicycles and buggies.”
McGuire continued, “buggies are not only slower moving, but also less maneuverable than motor vehicles.” He cautioned that, “drivers need to be aware of their surroundings, heed any signs that they might encounter buggy traffic, and reduce their speed to allow plenty of time for stopping and assessing when it is safe to pass a buggy.”
McGuire said that the Ohio Department of Transportation takes Amish safety very seriously. To that end, he said that, “We recently completed a study looking at data” to determine the cause of such accidents as have transpired this year involving Amish drivers.”
He said the data assists the Ohio Department of Transportation in implementing, “more safety improvements to prevent them from happening.”
Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District Public Information Officer Lt. Branden Jackman echoed McGuire’s sentiments about distracted driving being a huge problem with contemporary motorists.
“Distracted driving is a problem,” said Jackman. “It’s a problem, Jackman said, that despite, “public safety advertisements,” and other media outreach, continues to be unmitigated. Electronic devices, he said, can be so distracting that someone can, “look down at their phone” to check out the latest online chatter, and can have traveled a substantial amount of time, “without having realized it.”
Jackman said that while accidents involving the Amish typically occur a few times a year, we, “hate to see it” because of the increased vulnerability of Amish vehicles compared to motorists.
The Ohio Department of Transportation Amish Safety study can be accessed at https://www.transportation.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odot/about-us/resources/amish-safety.
Juliane Cartaino is a stringer for The Times-Gazette.