New York has witnessed many different safety bills over the years, and 2021 saw another law added to the list. This time the law targeted the limo industry and emphasized limo safety.
It isn’t the first time the limo industry saw laws introduced to ensure the safety of passengers.
Schoharie Limo Crash Incident
The Schoharie limo crash shook the state’s foundations as 17 passengers (the majority were family members), two pedestrians, and the driver crashed to their inevitable death. The National Transportation Safety Board stated that the crash was the worst car accident seen in the country in over a decade.
Upon investigation, reports showed that the state had barred the vehicle from service two years before the accident; however, the company kept using it.
Inadequate repairs to the vehicle and falsified records got exposed. The limo also had the capacity for ten seats. However, Prestige Limousine (the company) had fitted 16 seats to accommodate more passengers at once.
Even more shocking is that the commercial driver’s license did not allow for the transportation of more than 15 passengers at a time. Scott Lisinicchia, the driver at fault, also had several tickets on his license, making it a potential safety hazard.
In the end, the reports suggested the failure of the vehicle’s brake that led to the deadly accident in upstate New York. Mechanical failure, safety issues, and negligent drivers can lead to dangerous cars on the road resulting in loss of lives. New York passed new laws and bills to monitor and regulate the limousine industry to prevent future tragedies.
Stricter Laws Passed to Regulate the Limousine Industry
New York senate passed, and the assembly passed legislation in 2021 for the limousine industry that included restrictions on passengers, limo driver licenses, limo regulations, punishments, and hefty fines for illegal U-turns.
Commercial Licenses for Nine or More Passengers
After the deadly Schoharie crash, New York passed a bill for limousine drivers carrying nine or more passengers. The driver must have a valid commercial driver’s license; if the driver does not have a valid license, they must face the consequences depending on the charges levied.
The company is responsible for verifying all commercial driver’s licenses annually and report alterations in any of their altered vehicles to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Laws For Hire Vehicles – Converted Stretch Limousines
In 2021, further laws came into place to ensure the safety of the passengers in hire motor vehicles especially converted stretch limousines.
All motor vehicles converted to stretch limousines must have two seat belts for the front seat and one seatbelt for each passenger in the back of the vehicle.
The vehicle must also have signs to remind passengers to wear safety belts during the ride.
If the said hire vehicle or limousine does not have a seat belt, owners or drivers should retrofit the vehicle to ensure passenger safety at all times.
The law also requires the driver (taxis and livery vehicles) to not drive the vehicle until all the passengers aged eight and above wear seat belts.
New York and the Creation of the Passenger Task Force
The state also passed the law requiring the creation of a task force to monitor the limousine industry annually and provide a comprehensive report on the industry and the stretch limousines used (in terms of safety, efficiency, and reliability).
To ensure that the drivers are not driving under the influence or addicted to alcohol and drugs, the law requires companies to do pre-employment checks on the potential drivers and conduct random drug and alcohol testing throughout the year.