Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville) today joined his Senate colleagues in a bi-partisan effort to pass legislation he co-sponsored to increase safety for limousine passengers in the wake of the tragic limo crash in Schoharie last October that took the lives of 20 people.
Tedisco noted that the nine bills passed by the Senate are a result of feedback he and his colleagues received last month at legislative hearings, one of which took place in Albany, that he requested after meeting and speaking with families of the Schoharie crash victims – several of whom were his constituents in Fulton and Saratoga Counties.
“The Schoharie limo crash was a terrible tragedy that should never have happened. As elected representatives we have a responsibility to public safety to learn what went wrong and do our best to help prevent something like this from ever happening again. I said at last month’s hearing that it can’t be just more discussions, more talking and more hearing. We’ve got to take action and that’s what we’ve done today,” said Senator Tedisco. “I want to thank Senate Transportation Chairman Tim Kennedy and again give my deepest condolences to all the family members on their senseless loss and thank them for everything they’ve done to turn their own personal tragedies into a cause for positive action to help ensure that what happened to their loved ones never happens to another family.”
One of the victims, Patrick Cushing, was a Senate Information Technology staff member, who was in Senator Tedisco’s office the day before the crash and repaired a printer.
“Patrick Cushing was a wonderful and caring young man who was an extended part of our Senate family. As we grieve for all the victims, we mourn Patrick Cushing and know that through this legislation, we will always remember him,” said Tedisco.
The legislation that Tedisco sponsored and voted for will require limos to have rear seat belts, rollover protection devices, and global positioning system technology, as well as drug and alcohol testing for drivers. Additionally, the bills increase penalties for illegal U-Turns and other traffic infractions committed by an operator of a stretch limo, and require increased insurance limits for certain for-hire vehicles. It also authorizes the DMV to immobilize or impound limos that are in violation of safety standards and creates a reporting system through a smart phone app and toll-free hotline for consumers to report safety concerns. The legislation also establishes a state passenger safety task force to review and make additional safety recommendations related to limousines.