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Gov. Hochul unveils limo safety package

The 2018 Schoharie limousine crash killed 20 people.
National Transportation Safety Board
The 2018 Schoharie limousine crash killed 20 people.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has unveiled a legislative package meant to improve limousine safety and transparency for consumers. The proposal follows recommendations made by a stretch limousine passenger safety task force created after the 2018 Schoharie crash that killed 20 people.

The legislation would require a minimum $10,000 fine for operating a suspended stretch limousine and authorize the state transportation department to seize license plates of offenders driving passenger vehicles subject to their jurisdiction. The limo involved in the Schoharie crash was ordered off the road for brake issues, but its plates were not seized.

“The safety of all New Yorkers is my top priority, and I have listened to and heard the families who lost loved ones and know that more can and must be done,” Hochul said in a statement. “I am grateful to the families and advocates for all their hard work as part of the Stretch Limousine Passenger Safety Task Force. No other family should have to suffer as they have. Building on the actions that my administration has taken to protect New Yorkers, this legislation will provide even more oversight and transparency to the limousine industry and keep New Yorkers safe.”

The measure would also ban stretch limousines older than 10-years-old or with more than 350,000 miles. Stretch limos would be required to have window break tools, fire extinguishers, improved emergency egress, and roll-over protection. Limo companies would also be required to give a pre-trip safety briefing.

"Thanks to the Governor’s leadership and the ongoing collaboration of the DMV and DOT, we have been able to get dangerous vehicles off the road and this bill will enable us to do more to ensure the safety of everyone who uses or encounters a stretched limo on our roads," said State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Co-Chair of the Stretch Limousine Passenger Safety Task Force Mark J.F. Schroeder.

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Born and raised in Eden, NY, Jim has been WAMC’s Associate News Director since October 2016. Since 2020, Jim has hosted WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. From 2013 to 2016, he worked as WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief.