Posted on Limousine Accident Blog / Personal Injury Blog / After States Push, Congress Moves Forward With Limo Law Agenda

Page Updated 12/11/2021

After States Push, Congress Moves Forward With Limo Law Agenda

New York routes 30 and 30A saw a deadly accident in October 2018 where a stretch limo crashed killing everyone inside, 20 individuals including the driver.

Little did many realize that the incident would spark a movement in Congress to introduce new limousine safety laws to ensure and protect the passengers from negligence, malpractice, and other negative acts.

Limousine Safety for Our Clients is a Top Priority at Ehline Law

  • A ‘Relief’ to Families, Limo Safety Bill Stemming from Schoharie Crash

Since the 2009 Air Flight 3407’s crash, the Schoharie crash became the most deadly crash in the history of the United States. After further investigation, the reports suggested that the state banned the vehicle. Yet the company used it to transport passengers taking a huge safety risk.

The inadequate repairs to fix the failing brakes and the awareness about these issues further intensified the case. This caused a ruckus among states to push for more safety laws and implementation.

A ‘Relief’ to Families, Limo Safety Bill Stemming from Schoharie Crash

After more than two years of back and forth in Congress, in May 2021, new limousine reforms surfaced, including mandatory seat belts. It aims to reduce potential risks and hazards to passengers hiring stretch limousine services in the country.

Complying with Safety Standards

Before this, vehicles would get converted to stretch limousines and lose all the necessary safety features that come with a proper limousine. The new legislation looks to avoid this by requiring all limousines (including converted) to have seat belts for all passengers.

The law also requires the establishment of federal safety standards for a commercial motor vehicle, passenger vehicles, and more. It also aimed to create a proper definition (on the Federal level) of what constitutes a stretch limo. This was also referred to as the Safe Limousine Act and includes federal funding for conducting researches about the car crash.

The legislation also requires limousine operators to provide details of recent repairs along with their results during its last inspection. States are also given financial incentives to impound limos that are unsafe and do not follow the new laws governing the limo industry. Safety provisions in the “Take Unsafe Limos Off the Road” Act require an increase in the number of safety inspections that are currently done.

Another provision discussed and put forward was for the “End of Limo Loophole” Act whereby reclassification of vehicles would take place.

Those with more than nine passengers and less than 18 will have to comply with stricter regulations and standards that are currently applicable to vehicles with more than 18 passengers. These types of vehicles would come under commercial vehicles.

Chuck Schumer, United States Senator, also put forward a couple of more laws to incorporate in the Safe Limos Act and these include the following:

  • Altered vehicles must comply with federal safety standards including side-impact protection and roof crush resistance.
  • Lap and shoulder belts at each designated seating position. Before this law, there was no need for such belts for vehicles crossing the gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 pounds.
  • Seating system standards to meet minimum safety requirements

The legislation had passed earlier in 2020, however it was not taken up by the Senate. The reason behind this was many lawmakers were looking to make this legislation applicable to transportation buses, too, and an acceptance of that would give the legislation the final push it needs.

Families of the deceased are looking for the law to be applied nationally as limousine operators and drivers avoid such safety laws by traveling from one state to the other.

In 2020, the National Transportation Safety Board mentioned in their final report on the limousine crash that the Department of Transportation was responsible for such an incident.

The report also held the Department of Motor Vehicles responsible for not conducting regular visits and impounding the vehicle since it had several violations and was not in working condition even after the vehicle got banned by the state.

To date, it remains unclear whether the investigations into the limo company got conducted on fairgrounds and a couple of senators have put forward their demands for an independent investigation by the State Inspector General.

If you’ve gotten injured in a limousine due to someone else’s negligence or inadequate safety measures, contact us at (213) 596-9642 and get a free consultation with our limousine accident attorneys for an evaluation on your case.

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