We are deeply saddened about the devastating limousine crash in New York state that killed 20 people, including everyone inside of the limo. It was the deadliest car accident to occur in the US in more than 13 years. Federal and state level authorities are still investigating what caused the limousine to barrel through a stop sign and plow into a parked car.
Records show that the limousine failed its safety inspection last month. That failure should have prevented it from being on the road. The company that operated the limousine has a questionable vehicle maintenance record, and the driver behind the wheel at the time of the accident did not have the appropriate commercial driver’s license.
There are times when hiring a limo or other driving service is the smart and safe thing to do. For instance, when you know that an outing involves drinking alcohol, and a hired vehicle insures a guaranteed sober driver. But, there are some elements of limousine travel that can make it less safe than travelling in our own cars. A vehicle that has been modified, or “stretched,” to become a limousine often loses some of the crucial safety features that keep passengers inside a vehicle safe – elements like cages, side airbags, and side rollover pillars are destroyed when a vehicle is cut and stretched. Typically these modifications are done by small specialty body shops, not the original manufacturer, meaning that the safety features originally designed into a particular vehicle may very well be negated by the modification to limousine.
Passengers are also far less likely to use their seatbelts when they are riding in a limousine – even people who would never think of pulling out of their own driveway without strapping in are less likely to fasten their safety belt when riding in a limo. And the modification of these vehicles also makes it harder for the driver to stay in control.
There are certain risks associated with all vehicle travel. When you are a passenger in a limousine or car service, remember to wear your seat belt; check the history of any transportation company you hire; and if possible choose an unmodified, un-stretched vehicle over a stretched one.