New limo safety rules following Schoharie, NY crash

by Ken Presley

Following last year’s limousine crash in Schoharie County, New York, the state Senate approved new safety regulations for limousines, following an upstate crash that killed 20—17 passengers, the driver, and two pedestrians who were in a parking lot.

Nine bills include provisions that will require stretch limousines to have seatbelts, increase licensing requirements for limousine drivers, strengthen criminal penalties for drivers who violate traffic laws, and make it easier for the state of New York to impound unsafe vehicles.

The bills await a vote in the New York Assembly.

“We’re taking significant steps to ensure safety measures are firmly in place when anyone steps into one of these vehicles,” said Sen. Tim Kennedy, a Buffalo Democrat and the chairman of the Senate’s transportation committee.

Authorities say the limo in last fall’s crash in Schoharie County was unsafe and shouldn’t have been on the road; however, as a result of failing two inspections due to deficient brakes and other issues, the state previously ordered the vehicle out of service. The driver also lacked a passenger endorsement for carrying 15 or more passengers.

More that a few have opined that more laws and regulations mean law breakers will just have more laws and regulations to ignore.

At a hearing last month, relatives of those killed in the Schoharie County, New York crash as well as others urged lawmakers to increase regulations to in an effort to prevent future incidents.

“These vehicles are death traps. We cannot allow these vehicles to share our roads,” Mindy Grabina, whose daughter died in the Long Island crash, told lawmakers at the hearing. “We cannot allow these vehicles to share our roads.”

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the crash and has not released a probable cause. However, an exchange of court documents ndicate the cause may have been catastrophic brake failure.

Watch for updates in the Bus & Motorcoach News once the New York Assembly deliberates and the NTSB releases their final report.

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