ALBANY, NY (January 14, 2020) -- Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-Great Neck) passed legislation today (S.6189C) that will help better protect New Yorkers from limousine crashes. The bill passed on a Limo Safety Day of Action by the New York State Senate Majority Conference that included the passage of several other important bills to protect the safety of New Yorkers.
The bills were created together with Assembly Democratic Majority colleagues based on testimony from families of victims involved in tragic crashes. This package of limo regulations will better protect passengers, ensure higher standards for professional drivers, improve passenger communication options, and increase penalties for bad actors who put public lives at risk.
Senator Anna M. Kaplan said “the unimaginable tragedies that took place in Cutchogue and Schoharie were a rude awakening for all New Yorkers about the safety of stretch limousines. As lawmakers, we have a duty to families across the state to take action to prevent such senseless tragedy from ever happening again, and I’m very proud to sponsor legislation as part of that effort to keep our residents safe.”
The limo safety reforms passed by the Senator Anna Kaplan and the Senate Democratic Majority includes:
- Creation of Passenger Task Force: This bill, S.6189C, sponsored by Senator Anna Kaplan, creates a passenger safety task force to study and make recommendations on additional safety measures for stretch limousines such as anti-intrusion bars, roll-over protection, emergency exits, and improved coordination between the DOT and DMV.
- Customer Service Resources: This bill, S.6185B, sponsored by Senator Rachel May, requires maintenance of a hotline and website for New Yorkers to report safety issues with stretch limos, and requires the information to be conspicuously posted in vehicles for passengers.
- Drug and Alcohol Testing: This bill, S.6186B, sponsored by Senator Jen Metzger, requires pre-employment and random drug and alcohol testing in large for-hire vehicles.
- Commercial GPS Requirements: This bill, S.6187C, sponsored by Senator Jim Gaughran, requires stretch limousines to use commercial GPS devices to assist them in using roads that are best suited for their vehicles.
- Increased Penalties for Illegal U-Turns: This bill, S.6188B, sponsored by Senator Jim Gaughran, expands the u-turn ban to stretch limousines capable of carrying nine or more passengers including the driver, and increases the financial and criminal penalties for drivers making illegal u-turns.
- Seatbelt Requirements: This bill, S.6191C, sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy, requires stretch limousines to be equipped with seat belts for every passenger for which the vehicle is rated. This includes a requirement for stretch limousines to be retrofitted with seat belts no later than January 1, 2023, and for any stretch limousine modified on or after January 1, 2021 to be equipped with seat belts.
- Commercial Driving License Requirement: This bill, S.6192A, sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy, requires limousine drivers operating vehicles capable of transporting nine or more passengers to have a passenger endorsed commercial driver’s license.
- Immobilization of Defective Limos: This bill, S.6193C, sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy, authorizes DOT to immobilize or impound a stretch limo with an out-of-service defect.
- Website Requirements: This bill, S.6604B, sponsored by Senator James Sanders, Jr., requires DMV to update its website regarding motor carrier safety information, and requires annual verifications on stretch limousine driver files with respect to disqualifying offenses, out of service defects, and crashes.
- Seatbelt Requirements: This bill, S.7134, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, expands seatbelt use requirements in for-hire vehicles.