In a very interesting case out of Kentucky, a group of Amish men who were issued multiple traffic violations for failing to mount a state-mandated safety device on their horse-drawn buggies have officially taken their fight against the state law to the next level.
According to reports, multiple Amish men belonging to a conservative subgroup referred to as Swartzentruber were previously jailed for refusing to pay traffic tickets issued for not posting orange triangles on the back of their buggies as required by the state's slow-moving vehicle law.
The men -- hailing not only from Kentucky, but from Ohio and Tennessee -- claim that the orange triangles are gaudy and altogether unnecessary since they choose to rely solely upon God for their safety.
Represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the group is now asking the Supreme Court of Kentucky to grant them a religious exemption from having to post the orange triangles on their buggies.
A previous request for such an exemption was denied last year by the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
The hearing on the matter was held just last Thursday, and the presiding justices focused on several key points, including whether the religious concerns of a particular group outweigh the highway safety concerns of the state and whether the triangles were truly the most effective means of marking the buggies.
"Do we have any real evidence that this triangle that the law imposes on the Swartzentruber family branch indeed does what it says it's supposed to do?" asked Justice Mary C. Noble of the assistant attorney general arguing the case.
Here, the Attorney General's Office argued that the triangles do indeed provide motorists with a vital split-second warning that can greatly reduce the speeds at which a traffic accident occurs, while the ACLU argued that bicycles and horseback riders are not required to use the triangles.
It remains to be seen how the court will decide. However, it is worth noting that the Kentucky House of Representatives may soon vote on a proposed measure that would allow the Amish to use reflective tape in place of the orange triangles.
Stay tuned for further updates from our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...
If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
Fox News, "Kentucky Supreme Court hears Amish buggy sign case" March 15, 2012