Target: Mark A. Rosekind, Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Goal: Instate laws that require carriage drivers to report traffic related accidents.
In the never ending battle to have Carriage Horses removed from metropolitan areas, there has been a core problem overlooked. There are no statistics. In all of the debates concerning the safety of horses, pedestrians and vehicles, there are no hard numbers to back up any side. While there are news articles which occasionally hit social media about a big incident, those are rather rare and far too subjective. This leaves gaping holes for counter arguments that there isn’t a major safety dilemma because there’s nothing to support claims of danger.
This is because carriage drivers are not required to submit traffic incidents. In an article on the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages website, there is a list of media-documented cases and some eye-witness reports of accidents. It is also noted there that carriage drivers are not required to report accidents to anyone. This results in hit and runs of untold number and incidents where the driver can usher their horse away from the scene with no report being filed. This leads to no numbers and no accounting for the volume of incidents and so any claim to few or many can be made, thus leaving the argument at a standstill.
A horse-drawn carriage is, technically, a vehicle. Yet the drivers of these vehicles are not being held responsible for reporting accidents. While requiring drivers to report their accidents does not inherently make the horses safer, it is a stepping stone. It can provide hard, indisputable facts that carriage horses are not safe or healthy in a high-traffic metropolitan street.
Dear Administrator Rosekind,
In major cities such as New York and Cleveland, there are dozens of horse-drawn carriage drivers who ferry tourists about the cities. Despite these animals and carriages being in the midst of vehicular and pedestrian traffic on a daily basis, they are not required to submit incident reports as motor vehicles are. Just a glance in the news shows accidents involving horse and buggy, and those are only the rare few actually covered by the media. An unknowable number of hit and runs occur each year, some leaving pedestrians or horses severely injured. Because these carriage drivers are not required to report these incidents, people and animals suffer.
Where insurance could become involved and assist someone in covering medical bills, or the driver in covering veterinary bills, there is instead nothing done. I urge you to please consider requiring these carriage drivers to submit incident reports as any other driver is required to do.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Donny Moss