Horse Drawn Vehicle Lighting Requirements Are Now State Law
Horse drawn vehicle lighting requirements are now State law, under ACT 228 of Wisconsin State law.
Assembly Bill 475, authored by Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Representative John Spiros (R-Marshfield) requires that, in addition to the lights already required, animal-drawn vehicles must also be equipped with rear flashing yellow or amber strobe lights, and that all the lights must be illuminated during hours of darkness and periods of inclement weather.
According to a statement from Governor Scott Walker’s Office, the bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote and was concurred by the Senate on a voice vote.
Section 1 was amended to read: Section 1. 347.24 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
347.24 (2) No person may operate on a highway during hours of darkness or during periods of inclement weather a vehicle drawn by an animal unless the vehicle is equipped with at least one lighted white light visible from a distance of 500 feet ahead and 2 red lights and 2 yellow or amber strobe lights visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear. The red rear lights shall be mounted in such a manner as to indicate the extreme width of the vehicle. The yellow or amber strobe lights shall be mounted not more than 6 inches from the lateral extremities of the vehicle.
Section 2. 347.30 (3) of the statutes was created to read: 347.30 (3) Notwithstanding sub. (2), on or after the effective date of this subsection …. [LRB inserts date], and before 6 months after the effective date of this subsection …. [LRB inserts date], if a person violates s. 347.24 (2) by operating on a highway during hours of darkness a vehicle that is drawn by an animal and that is not equipped with 2 yellow or amber strobe lights visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear and mounted not more than 6 inches from the lateral extremities of the vehicle, a law enforcement officer shall issue the person a warning notice and may not issue a citation.
Representative Bob Kulp (R-Stratford) assisted Spiros with drafting the legislation, as well as met with the Amish communities in Loyal and in Vesper several times to discuss.
“I think it’s a good thing for safety for everyone that travels the roads in our rural areas,” said Representative Kulp. “I hope that this will be a first step to continuing the dialog of safety with the different communities of Amish in our area.”
Though the National Farm Medicine Center was not involved in proposing or drafting this specific bill, the organization is actively dedicated to improving rural roadway safety, and works with local communities to help develop solutions.
“We understand Pennsylvania and Ohio both have similar laws requiring lighting and markings on horse-drawn or slow-moving vehicles. MCHS has a working group with a goal of increasing the use of LED lights on horse-drawn vehicles and look forward to working with communities to identify or develop culturally appropriate solutions,” said Josie Rudolphi, PhD, Associate Research Scientist. “Importantly, now that we have the legislation we should monitor its impact in improving public safety.”
Earlier this year, legislation concerning buggy safety brought before the Wood County Board failed to pass, largely due to concerns about discrimination towards the Amish community. (Read more here.)
“The Amish bring a lot of culture and diversity to our state, and this legislation is not designed to diminish that in any way,” said Kulp.
More information on recent legislation- click here.