Authorities caution drivers in Michigan to watch for horse and b - WNEM TV 5

Authorities caution drivers in Michigan to watch for horse and buggies

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When it comes to horsepower, the Amish have a lot of it. Police are warning motorists, though, that they need the roads just as much as drivers do.

"A lot of these Amish people are moving into the township and the community we need to raise awareness early on before there is a problem,” said Chief Derek Babcock with the Bangor Fire Department.

Babcock and Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott are teaming up. They said Amish buggy's have the same rights to the road as farm equipment and motorcycles.

"One thing people need to realize is that when you approach an Amish buggy, slow down make wide swings around them and just use caution,” Abbott said.

Last October, three Amish kids were killed and their parents critically injured after a truck crashed into their buggy.

"It's not something I ever want to deal with so that's why I'm here to raise awareness,” Babcock said.

Amish buggy drivers are required to have lights visible from 500 feet away and a slow-moving vehicle sign, but Babcock said those can only do so much.

"When you're going 55-60 miles per hour and you come up on a horse and buggy that's only 10 miles per hour, you're going to come up to them very fast,” Babcock said.

Babcock said there are already nearly a dozen Amish families living in the Bangor area.

He expects 20 more families in the next year or two.

"Some of the businesses here in our town and the surrounding areas are going to be putting in hitching posts at their post to welcome them so they can tie their horse and buggy up to the side of the building,” he said.

The Bangor Fire Department took their message to social media, writing a post that got almost 1,000 shares.

Abbott hopes the message sticks.

"People have got to remember a lot of these buggies are being driven by teenagers or younger, the last thing you want to do is spook these horses,” he said.

Copyright 2018 CBS News / WWMT. All rights reserved. 

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