LICKING, Mo — Summertime shoulder traffic should bring extra caution for drivers.
A local family has reached a wrongful death settlement after an elderly woman struck and killed a 29-year-old pregnant newlywed riding in a horse-driven buggy last September.
Now that same woman has struck another horse and buggy in the same area this past Sunday.
According to online court records 83-year-old Clarissa Smith reached that settlement with Mattie Miller’s family in May for $300,000 dollars.
Smith had hit Miller and her unborn child one mile north of Licking on Shaffer road.
Both Miller and her child died three days after the incident.
Sergeant Jeff Kinder with Missouri State Highway Patrol confirms Smith hit a buggy with four passengers on that same road last Sunday night.
There were no injuries reported in this incident.
With summer upon us, you’ll likely be seeing more shoulder traffic on rural highways in Missouri including those horses and buggies.
Slow-moving vehicles on Missouri roadways depend on drivers to share the road and be attentive, and Sergeant Jason Pace with Missouri Highway Patrol boils it down to something simple: Keeping your eyes on the road.
“You may look away just for a second, but that may potentially be a life or death situation when you’re confronted with some of these slow moving vehicles, maybe the buggies, maybe the farm equipment that’s going from field to field cutting hay. You have to be extra cautious especially this time of year,” says Pace.
For horse and buggy operators, they are required by law to make themselves visible.
“They have to have some sort of florescent triangle to the rear,” Pace says.
Visibility is important because many times when a motor vehicle collides with a buggy, the result isn’t pretty. Road officials try to keep drivers aware of the possibility of having those buggies on the shoulder.
“If there is a large presence of buggy population, then normally there is going to be signs in place,” Pace says.
Working on the road never really stops for MODOT. Micheal Bock is a Traffic Operations Engineer with MODOT. He says the signs they put out are important for both car and buggy safety.
“If we know there is say — an Amish population — we’ll generally sign the roads with a horse and buggy symbol,” Bock explains.
It’s what you do behind the wheel that will impact lives most. It all goes back to not being a distracted driver.
“Even a few seconds, you travel farther than you realize. Keep your eye on the road, buckle up, and put your phones down while you’re driving because your primary job is to drive,” says Bock.
There are a number of legal requirements for slow-moving vehicles under 25 mph traveling on Missouri roadways, and that is all laid out on the Highway Patrol website under the brochure section.