Hinchey Bill to Strengthen Limousine Safety Passes as Part of Senate Package

Michelle Hinchey

January 31, 2023

ALBANY, NY State Senator Michelle Hinchey announced that her bill to establish limousine retirement thresholds passed the Senate today along with a package of legislation to advance new limousine safety measures in New York. S1443-Hinchey ages out stretch limousines at 350,000 miles or 10 years — whichever comes first — with exceptions for antique and show cars. Limousine companies in good standing can petition the Commissioners of Transportation and the DMV for a waiver to keep their vehicle in operation based upon a demonstrated history of safety compliance. Hinchey’s bill is based on recommendations from the Stretch Limousine Passenger Safety Task Force, which was created in the wake of the tragic Schoharie and Cutchogue limo crashes of 2018 and 2015 that claimed the lives of 24 New Yorkers.

Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “My bill to retire old and under-maintained limousines is a lifesaving change that will make our roads safer and rightfully help hold the limo industry to a higher standard. We will never come close to diminishing the pain of families whose loved ones were taken from them in the tragic Schoharie and Long Island limousine crashes, but my colleagues and I will do everything in our power to establish new safety standards so that no family ever has to endure the same tragedy from these preventable accidents.”

The additional legislation passed by the State Senate today with Senator Hinchey’s support includes:

  • Increasing Penalties for Disobeying Inspections: S1370 strengthens penalties when a stretch limousine has failed an inspection but an operator still utilizes the vehicle. The bill also provides for the seizure and redemption of the unlawfully operated and unsafe vehicle by an officer and requires the vehicle information to be entered into the New York Statewide Police Information Network as an impounded vehicle.
  • Equipping Limos with Emergency Tools: S1442 requires stretch limos to be equipped with window break tools as well as operational fire extinguishers, and have them incorporated into the inspection process.
  • Extending the Stretch Limo Passenger Safety Task Force: S1369 extends the Stretch Limousine Passenger Safety Task Force's operations by extending it to December 21, 2024. It also directs the Task Force to continue to hold public hearings and meetings as necessary to review the State's implementations of the original Task Force report released in October 2022. The Task Force will provide recommendations and an updated report on its findings by April 15, 2024.
  • Strengthening Limo Safety Ratings: S1371 improves the Safe Limo safety rating system to align with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER system and compare three years' worth of data
  • Creating Limo Safety Briefing Requirements: S1367 creates a Pre-trip safety briefing for passengers, similar to those administered for airline passengers or other commercial rides.