ALBANY, N.Y. — One state senator anticipates that the highly anticipated limousine safety bill for which advocates stridently fought is on schedule to pass in the coming weeks. Spectrum News reported that the Senate Transportation Committee passed the measure and sent the bill to the full Senate for consideration. The senator said that this bill, along with a few others, will receive expedited status with the expectation that the measure will pass before the summer vacation season. The senator did not indicate whether the bill passed through the Senate Transportation Committee as written initially or with amendments.
The family members of people killed in limo crashes over recent years have fought long and hard to change New York state law to tighten laws and regulations governing the use of limousines. After twenty people, including the driver of a limo, died in Schoharie, N.Y. last fall, the New York state legislature, along with Gov. Cuomo, began working on the new limo safety laws. The chairman of the N.Y. Senate Transportation Committee said that the victims’ families from the Schoharie crash along with the victims’ families of a deadly Long Island limousine crash were the driving forces behind changing the law.
The bill, as it stands right now, amends current state law to add provisions that, if in place at the time of the Long Island and Schoharie limo accidents, may have prevented those tragedies from occurring according to the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. Specifically, the bill will amend state law to include mandatory seat belts, emergency escape exits, and roll bars installed in limousines. Additionally, limo drivers will need a commercial driver’s license, pass a criminal background check, and testing for alcohol and drug use.
Amendments could be attached to the bill. The chairman for the Senate Transportation Committee said he proposes that the state establish a task force to study and report on the best practices for inspecting limos and assessing criminal penalties for violations.
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