Kentucky Amish Men Imprisoned for Not Displaying Slow Moving Vehicle Signs

September 19, 2011 | 0 Comments

Who would have thought that sign placement on a carriage would be a hot-button issue in the national media and raise the issue of religious practices? On September 15th, 2011, nine Amish men in the state of Kentucky were sentenced to jail for not placing signs on their horse-drawn buggies and violating state law. The men did not comply because they claimed that the signs violated their religious beliefs.

A Slow Moving Vehicle Sign is shaped like an orange triangle. It had a red reflective strip on the outside bordering reflective fluorescent orange on the inside. These signs are required to indicate slow-moving vehicles, such as buggies. However, the Kentucky men stated that their religious beliefs prevented them from wearing bright colors. They used reflective tape as a substitute, because according to them the triangle is restricted for the Holy Trinity.

The Amish religion is a devout sect of Christianity. They use electricity in limited fashion and rely on horse-drawn carriages instead of limited vehicles. A large part lives in Pennsylvania though they are dispersed throughout the rural US. The Kentucky men belonged to a restrictive sect called Old Order Swartzentruber. Eight of the men served sentences ranging from three to ten days since they refused to pay a fine for the misdemeanor. The ninth man’s fine was paid by someone else. In jail, the men wore dark uniforms instead of bright uniforms to respect their religion.

This story is a testament to how important sign displays are.  Slow Moving Vehicle signs are made from reflective fluorescent that can be viewed in low visibility areas or day times, with the bright colors attracting attention. They are made from durable steel that will last over a decade outside without bending. The signs have rounded corners and pre-drilled holes for an easy installation, and are essential items for a road trip.

The Kentucky case was appealed to the state’s Supreme Court. The issue of whether the court will appeal to the State Supreme Court is still pending.

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