AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Janet Mills on May 30 signed into law a measure to improve road safety in Amish communities and across the state.
The bill, LD 198, introduced by Rep. David McCrea, D-Fort Fairfield, and co-sponsored by Rep. Chloe Maxmin, D-Nobleboro, requires non-motorized, animal-drawn carriages to be equipped with reflectors and lights.
“This bill is the product of many meetings with my Amish neighbors in Aroostook County,” said McCrea. “The purpose of this bill was to make the nighttime use of non-motorized buggies, wagons and carriages much safer, which we have accomplished with input and concerns from the community addressed.”
As amended in committee, the bill requires that operators of animal-drawn vehicles operating on a public way at night must use federally regulated reflective white tape to outline the frame of the vehicle. The vehicles must also display an oil lantern or electric light on their left side, with a red light facing rear and a white light toward the front.
“This is about a desire to ensure the safety of everyone in our community,” said Maxmin. “I regularly hear from constituents who are worried about safety, especially after dark. In my district, the roads are winding, two lanes and no shoulder. There’s no margin for error. The new law will promote safety as Amish communities continue to grow in Maine.”
McCrea is serving his second term in the Legislature and is a member of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee and the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. He represents Caswell, Easton, Fort Fairfield, Hamlin, Limestone, part of Presque Isle, Stockholm and Cyr Plantation, plus the unorganized territory of Connor Township.
Maxmin, a first-term lawmaker, represents House District 88, which includes Chelsea, Jefferson, Whitefield and part of Nobleboro. She is a member of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee.