The New York State Senate passed measures to strengthen limousine safety protocols and ensure greater protections for both passengers and operators. The proposed bills include measures to improve limousine safety standards and bring the State’s Safe Limo website in line with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER site; enforce a vehicle retirement threshold at ten years or 350K miles; require that limos be equipped with emergency tools like window break devices and fire extinguishers, as well as be outfitted with roll-over protection devices like cages and anti-intrusion bars; increase penalties for operators who disobey inspections and get unsafe commercial vehicles off the road; and extend the Stretch Limousine Passenger Safety Task Force.
The reforms incorporate the recommendations of the Stretch Limo Passenger Safety Task Force that the Senate created in 2020. The task force was created in response to a 2015 Long Island accident where four individuals were killed, and the 2018 Schoharie crash where 20 lives were lost–making it the deadliest U.S. road accident in nearly 20 years. This legislative package is part of an ongoing effort to avert future tragedies by improving the State’s approach to limo regulation, according to the Senate Majority.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Our state will never be made whole from the horrific limo crashes of 2015 and 2018. The least we can do is enact stronger, smarter regulations that will prevent these types of tragedies from happening in the future, while modeling first-rate safety protocols for other states and the Federal Government to follow. Every passenger and operator deserves to rent and enjoy limousines with the same level of trust as any other vehicle, and to know that the companies behind the scenes are being held to the letter of the law. I want to thank the State Limo Task Force for their careful recommendations, and the bill sponsors for ensuring these crucial provisions become the standard throughout New York.”
Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee and Bill sponsor, Senator Tim Kennedy, said, "These comprehensive policies build on the meaningful limo reforms the Democratic Conference advanced and enacted in 2020, and are a direct reflection of the advocacy and determination of families of the victims involved in the limo crashes in Schoharie and Cutchogue. By once again strengthening limo safety standards across New York State, we are ensuring passenger safety is prioritized, and creating greater oversight and accountability within the industry. I thank the State Limo Task Force for their hard work and thoughtful recommendations, as well as Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins for fast-tracking the passage of this important legislation."