An old-fashioned lifestyle is causing traffic safety concerns, as horse and buggies are now sharing Warren County roads with vehicles.
“I guess you know we have a lot of Amish people moving in,” said Road Superintendent Levie Glenn, during a Highway and Bridge Committee meeting. “There are several families now and they travel by horse and buggy. They travel about 10 mph. I’ve put up some signs and I have more ordered.”
The signs warn motorists to be aware they are now sharing the roadway with slower moving horse-and-buggy drivers and to use caution.
“We want people to be aware of it,” said Glenn. “We don’t want residents of the county to run over one of them, if they can keep from it. One family has nine children. The buggies are supposed to have lights on them if they are traveling at night, just like cars, which is what the Tennessee Highway Patrol told me. Someone told me we could have 15 or 20 families moving here.”
The Amish have farming as a focal point in their communities. In Warren County, they are mov-ing into the rural area between Morrison and Centertown.
According to Commissioner Gary Prater, the Tennessee Department of Transportation is aware of the situation and is placing signs at both ends of Jacksboro Road which connects Morrison and Centertown.
“The state has put some signs on 287,” said Prater. “They put one on each end, one at Morri-son and one at Centertown.”
While the rules for Amish life vary from community to community, some shun technology in all forms – forbidding the use of automobiles, electricity from public utility lines, TVs, radios, and comput-ers. The items are not considered evil. However, the Amish believe it will bring about assimilation and introduce foreign values into their culture.
Educating the public about the situation could be the only avenue to offer some night-time protection for the newcomers. Commissioner Blaine Wilcher says he was told there are no lights on the buggies.
“I have somebody at work who has to go down Jacksboro Road a lot and they’ve nearly run over them because they don’t have lights,” said Wilcher. “We need to get the word out to them, if they don’t know, that they are supposed to have lights on the buggies. Someone could run over them, especially at night.”