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Are Stretch Limos Required to Have Seat Belts in New York?

A tragic stretch limo accident from a few years back is still having an impact on New York’s seat belt laws to this day. According to the Democrat & Chronicle, a digital news outlet, the limo accident happened in 2018 in Schoharie, NY.

Reportedly, the limo ran through a stop sign and crashed into an SUV, which was parked in an Apple Barrel Country Store’s parking lot. The limo was a Ford Excursion stretch limousine. At the time of the wreck, it was carrying a driver and 17 passengers. The driver and all the passengers were killed in the crash. In addition, two bystanders were killed in the wreck.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that brake failure led to the crash. The limo was reportedly going as fast as 100 mph as it descended a steep hill prior to the deadly accident.

Prestige Limousine of Saratoga County owned the limo and was reportedly ordered to stop using the limo involved in the crash prior to the fatal incident. The New York Department of Transportation ordered Prestige Limousine to sideline the limo due to problems with the vehicle’s braking system. The NTSB was critical of Prestige Limousine for continuing to use the limo.

In addition, the NTSB also placed blame on the State of New York for not seizing the limo’s license plates and two vehicle inspection shops that inspected the limo prior to the wreck. Neither of the shops that inspected the limo were authorized to perform inspections on limousines.

Finally, according to the New York Post, none of the limo passengers killed in the crash were wearing seat belts, and the seat belts in the vehicle’s back seat weren’t easily accessible.

Lawmakers Change Seat Belt Laws for Stretch Limos in New York

In the aftermath of this tragedy, New York lawmakers worked together to craft a new seat belt law for limousines in the state. It took lawmakers until 2020, but they did eventually reach a deal on new limo seat belt legislation.

Reportedly, the law requires new limos manufactured in 2021 and beyond to have enough seat belts installed and easily accessible for the limo driver and every occupant. The law also requires limos manufactured prior to 2021 to have enough seat belts installed and easily accessible for the limo driver and every occupant by 2023.

Set Up a Free Consultation with Our Experienced Limo Accident Attorneys Today

Since 1948, DeLorenzo, Grasso & Dalmata, LLP has been successfully fighting for the rights of injury victims and their families in Schenectady and throughout the Capital Region. Our personal injury lawyers have decades of experience helping injury victims and the families of wrongful death victims. As our case results prove, we have helped several victims and their families bring those at fault for the motor vehicle accidents that left their lives in ruins to justice, including securing the compensation our clients needed for current and future medical bills, funeral costs, loss of income, living expenses, and pain and suffering.

For more information about New York laws regarding limousines, or to discuss your situation with our experienced limo accident lawyers, call us at (518) 299-0314 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.