Tennessee motorists might be familiar with sharing the roadways of the state with horse-drawn buggies. However, out-of-state visitors might be unsure of how to navigate their vehicles without threatening the safety of those riding on buggies and their horses. Safety authorities and officials of Tennessee Highway Patrol recently expressed their concern over the increase in the numbers of car accidents that involve collisions with Amish buggies.

THP says distractions appear to be the cause of many accidents in which cars strike buggies. Although the numbers might seem insignificant with six such accidents so far this year — compared to an average of two per year previously — it is the substantial increase that causes concern. Authorities want vehicle operators to recognize the fact that buggies have the same right as other vehicles to use the state’s roads.

Occupants of buggies typically suffer more severe injuries than those in cars because buggies do not come fitted with all the safety features and protection found in modern vehicles. Although buggies have no seat belts, families frequently have their young children with them in their buggies without restraints. Furthermore, impatient motorists who blow their horns might not realize how sensitive the horses are to sudden noises, and scaring them could have disastrous consequences.

Reportedly, one of the most recent car accidents that involved an Amish buggy occurred in August, leaving five daughters without their father who suffered fatal injuries in a crash for which troopers say the driver of the car was responsible. Family members of deceased crash victims might be entitled to pursue financial relief through the Tennessee civil justice system. With the help of an experienced wrongful death and personal injury attorney, surviving family members and injured victims can seek recovery of economic and non-economic damages.