Safety bill drives to make limo U-turns illegal

News 12 Long Island

March 22, 2019

Originally published in News 12 Long Island on March 22, 2019.

Supporters of a bill that aims to make changes to the limousine industry say it would make the vehicles safer for everyone.

The proposal comes more than three years after a summer 2015 limousine crash on Route 48 in Cutchogue that left four women dead. The limo driver in that case made a U-turn, and then was T-boned by a pickup truck.

The new measure would make it illegal for limousines to make U-turns on any state road. It would also include more stringent inspections and a requirement that passengers wear seat belts.

Nancy DiMonte's daughter Joelle and three others survived the 2015 Cutchogue crash.

"You move on, but you think about it," DiMonte says. "You don't forget."

Mark Vigliante, owner of Commack-based M&V Limousines, says he's in favor of making the industry safer. His drivers are already prohibited from making U-turns, and they must sign a safety agreement that already bars them from using their cellphones.

Vigliante says that many of the laws regarding limos are not being properly enforced right now. He says the state government should fix that problem before making any new regulations.

The bill would also increase penalties for operators who don't follow the law. It's expected to be considered by state lawmakers as early as next week.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky says the U-turn ban will likely pass with ease. He was unsure about the other aspects of the measure.

The bill would have to pass by April 1 to make it into the next state budget.