After Tragic Limo Accident, New York Moves to Strengthen Oversight

In response to a tragic limousine accident that left 20 dead in October, the legislature is proposing a slew of measures meant to regulate the industry and protect New Yorkers. According to The New York Post, the state Senate passed several proposals in the hopes of preventing another fatal limo accident in the state. As previously reported, federal regulations barely touch on the limousine industry – despite its heavy hand in the broader automobile industry. Therefore, according to New York Democrats in Albany, the burden falls on the state to prevent the kinds of tragedies that occurred in October.

Last October, a stretch limo with faulty brakes ran through several red lights and stop signs before eventually hitting a parked vehicle. All 18 passengers in the limo, all family members, and two pedestrians were killed. Just two weeks prior, the limo was taken off the roads for safety violations. Despite being “cleared” to operate again, the limo was clearly still unsafe.

Legislators in Albany now believe they can prevent these limo accidents in the future. The slew of proposals, which have passed the Senate but still require both the Assembly and the Governor’s approval, are broad in scope. If passed into law, limo drivers would be required to submit to random drug and alcohol tests, similar to truck drivers with a commercial driver’s license. All limos in the state would be outfitted with a GPS system for the state to track them and larger limos would be required to provide seatbelts and liability insurance. The legislators also included a provision prohibiting limo drivers from executing a U-turn, which caused the death of four Long Island women in 2015, according to The New York Post.

Discussing the new legislation with The New York Post, Sen. Jim Gaughran said, “These people who are struggling with their lives, they’re never going to be able to fully move on with their lives if they didn’t have these tragedies, they’re trying to channel their loss into something possible for others and they are so dedicated and the families from Long Island, they’ve been pushing this for a long time.”

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