Featured Image Credit: Palmetto Carriage Works
Downtown carriage companies and the City of Charleston have incorporated new technology to closely monitor how much weight horses are pulling.
Instead of having to manually monitor the weight like in the past, the city has now started using new tablets that efficiently and accurately check the number of people on each carriage to ensure that regulations are being followed.
“We already had the ordinance adopted regulating the amount of combined weight, of the carriage and passengers, cannot be more than three times the weight of the horse,” said Daniel Riccio, the Director of the Department of Livability and Tourism for the City of Charleston.
In order to determine how they should measure the weight of each person, Riccio said that they used Federal Aviation Administration Regulations.
“We used the same regulations as the FAA with air travel,” Riccio said. “The FAA has a mandate that all airlines follow, which are averages of passengers, not exact weights, but the averages of the males, females, and children. They even break it down so far as winter weight and summer weight. Winter being the more weight of the passengers.”
But the city has decided to stay on the safe side and go with the higher weight.
“All year round, we are going with the higher winter weight. The average is 195 pounds per person. We went maximum just to ensure the animal can pull all that weight. Even though you’re going to have women and children on there that weigh much less.”
Ricco says that with the new technology in place there are no excuses for breaking these regulations.
“If a carriage were to come up to the gate and have 17 people total with the driver – and it surely indicates on there that there can only be 12, then we have an issue,” Riccio said.
Riccio added that any violation of the tourism ordinance would result in a maximum fine of $1,087 or a 30-day jail sentence.
However, at this point in time, there have been no issues reported and Riccio assures that the city and carriage companies are doing their job to keep the horses and the public safe from these concerns.
“We feel confident with the information we are providing to the public is accurate and they can trust that we are doing what we’re supposed to be doing to make sure the animals are safe,” Riccio said.
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