ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for sweeping changes of New York State’s limousine laws as the time of year rolls around when limos are in high demand. The approach of spring ushers in wedding season, along with junior and senior proms, as well as folks in upstate New York taking wine tours in style. The limousine catastrophe that killed 20 people on October 7, 2018, was the inspiration for the wide-ranging proposals according to the Democrat & Chronicle. The governor even went on to propose that all stretch limousines would be outlawed in New York. The governor scaled that proposal back, fearing that such a rule would irreparably harm many legitimate businesses in the state and New York City in particular. The message is clear, however, that changes to New York’s limousine laws will be in place when the state budget takes effect on April 1, 2019.
According to the plan announced by the governor, authorities will soon hold broad powers with nearly unfettered discretion to take dangerous livery cars off of the road and punish companies who are risking people’s lives with shady business practices. The forthcoming proposal, the governor claims, will ensure the safety of everyone in New York. The changes to New York’s laws could include a mandate that all limousines in operation in New York meet federal safety standards and, if they do not satisfy New York’s safety requirements and are in service, then the owners could face substantial fines and even felony criminal charges.
One of the significant concerns about stretch limousines relates to the lack of safety equipment. Aftermarket changes to the vehicle frequently result in the removal of safety pillars and side airbags in addition to reworking the seating for passengers. The limo that crashed in October is an excellent example of aftermarket changes that possibly increase the danger. As manufactured, that limousine would seat eight passengers. However, the vehicle could seat as many as 18 with the aftermarket alterations.
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