Legislative package introduces new limo safety regulations for NYS
ALBANY, N.Y. (WENY) – Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a three-way agreement with State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on a limousine safety regulation package.
The 10 point package contains new safety regulations including: seat belt requirements, immobilization of defective limousines, increased penalties for illegal u-turns, GPS requirements, customer service requirements, regular validation of vehicle and driver safety information, new commercial driver's license requirements for limo drivers, creation of a passenger task force and drug and alcohol testing.
"These comprehensive reforms will give authorities much-needed new powers to get dangerous vehicles off the road, weed out bad actors and put into place common sense safety standards that will increase public safety in every corner of New York," Governor Cuomo said. "This horrific crashes that sparked this action shook this state to its very core and we stand with those who lost loved ones in these accidents and worked tirelessly to help prevent future tragedies once and for all."
The package comes following a call for regulations after the Schoharie limousine crash that happened in the early afternoon of October 6, 2018 just 30 miles west of Albany. 20 people – the driver, 17 passengers and two pedestrians – were all killed as a result.
29-year-old Nauman Hussain, the owner of Prestige Limousines, is facing a trial on 20 charges each of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Prosecutors accuse Hussain of hiding failed inspections and other issues with the limousine. His trial is set to begin in March.
"Limousines and celebrations usually go hand-in-hand, and the Senate Democratic Majority wants to keep it that way," Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. "The crashes that have taken place because of unsafe limos and lax regulations are tragedies, and we have a responsibility to address this problem. The Senate Majority stands, and grieves, with the families who lost loved ones to limo crashes and who turned that suffering into activism. These bills, which have the support of the Senate Majority, Assembly Majority, and Governor Cuomo, will help improve safety, hold companies accountable, and save lives."
"Limos are so often the vehicle of choice for joyous occasions - weddings, proms and special events. But we have seen too many turn into tragedy," Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said. "The bills we pass today build on the progress we made in last year's budget, creating necessary oversight for the for-hire limousine industry and ensuring they are held accountable. These critical reforms will mean safer vehicles, safer roads and saved lives."