ALBANY, New York — Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a comprehensive limousine safety package into law recently. The legislators who drafted and supported the legislation, along with Governor Cuomo, are hopeful that these new safety laws will help prevent the additional tragic and senseless loss of limo in New York limousine accidents. The Sentinel Newspaper reported that the reforms were designed to keep dangerous limos off of New York roads. The laws should clamp down on rogue limo businesses that pay only lip service to passenger safety. Legislators advanced the proposed laws after twenty people died in a limo crash in Schoharie, New York in 2018 and four women died in a limo wreck in 2015 on Long Island.
The limousine crash in Schoharie that killed 20 people, which included 17 passengers, the limo driver, and two pedestrians in a parking lot, occurred on October 6, 2018. The investigation into that event revealed that the driver of the Ford Excursion sports utility vehicle, which the owner modified into a stretch limousine, ran a T-intersection, drove through a parking lot and struck a parked car, and then plowed into an embankment. The parked car killed the two pedestrians in the lot.
The person operating the limo company that owned the doomed Ford Excursion faces 20 counts of both second-degree manslaughter and criminally-negligent homicide. The trial, in that case, is slated to begin in March.
The fatal limo crash that killed four women who were on a wine tour on Long Island died when their driver attempted an illegal U-turn and was struck in a T-bone collision.
The newly minted laws require limo companies with retrofitted vehicles to install two front seatbelts and one seatbelt for each person in the rear. This rule becomes effective in January of 2021. All stretch limos must have a seatbelt for each person by 2023. Also, any livery driver carrying nine or more passengers must have a commercial driver’s license.
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