A recent limousine crash in upstate New York killed all 17 passengers, the driver and two bystanders. According to CNN, the vehicle went through a stop sign, struck a parked vehicle, hit two pedestrians and then crashed into a creek bed near Apple Barrel County Store in Schoharie, NY.
It is the deadliest transportation accident in the U.S. in more than a decade, and it is raising questions about safety regulations for these vehicles.
Limos are converted after leaving the factory
The limo was a 2001 Ford Excursion that was converted. This is typically how limousines are created, by cutting a vehicle in half and extending it. This eliminates safety features like airbags and rollover pillars. This vehicle was built for nine people, but elongated to accommodate 18.
Some of the seats in the back of the limo had seatbelts, but some of the seats may not have been equipped. Backseat limo passengers do not have to wear seatbelts in New York.
Limo had multiple safety violations
The New York State Department of Transportation inspected the vehicle in September, and it failed the safety inspection. It was not first failed inspection either. The limo had multiple safety violations, and some due to its braking system. The limo was not supposed to be out on the road.
Driver did not have proper license
To drive a limo, a driver needs a commercial driver’s license with a passenger endorsement. The driver did not have this license.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is reviewing evidence from the scene, while also trying to determine whether fatigue, the driver’s ability and the limo company’s failure to comply with regulation played a part in the crash.
Senator Schumer calls for more safety regulations
Meanwhile, Senator Chuck Schumer called for the NTSB to further investigate limousine crashes. According to The New York Times, the senator wants stricter safety regulations for limos because the passenger vehicles currently fall into a gray area as neither a bus or a car. Modified limos are usually exempt from many federal safety regulations.