Tougher limo rules proposed
Senate bill says stretch vehicles must come off road after 10 years
New regulations for stretch limousines are being proposed in the state Senate in response to the crash that killed 20 people in Schoharie last week.
The legislation introduced on Friday by Sen. Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat, would require stretch limousines be taken off the road after 10 years, create new procedures if a vehicle fails a safety inspection, impose a minimum liability insurance coverage of $2 million and display inspection results on the state Department of Transportation website.
It would also mandate a “license plate” sized sticker on a passenger door indicating the date of the last successful vehicle inspection, with the sticker replaced by a sticker indicating the vehicle can’t transport passengers if it fails an inspection.
“While many limousine operators take the safety of their passengers and drivers seriously, there seems to be a certain population of operators that does not,” reads the bill memorandum. “In an effort to cut corners, they put their passengers and drivers at risk.”
Prestige Limousine, the owner of the 2001 Ford Excursion that was involved in the Schoharie tragedy, was cited during previous inspections for lacking operating authority from the DOT, along with numerous safety violations, including defective brakes, inoperable emergency exits and a dangling hydraulic brake line.
After each inspection, Prestige had 15 days to correct the problems.
Even if the issues were addressed, Prestige still required DOT approval to offer limo services.
According to the bill memorandum, stretch limousines are not defined by state law and operate under a “patchwork of regulations.”
New York has changed inspection procedures for socalled stretch vehicles, shifting those procedures to the state DOT from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Stretch vehicles that carry 10 or more people, including the driver, are now are classified as buses.
Felder, who is aligned with the Senate Republicans, has come under fire in New York City for holding up legislation that would have reauthorized speed cameras around public schools in the five boroughs.