Federal safety standards for limos included in infrastructure bill

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Local transportation company assists in Schoharie limo crash investigation

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Federal limo safety standards are included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The inclusion in the bipartisan bill was announced by Senator Chuck Schumer’s office Monday.

It’s been nearly three years since a limo accident in Schoharie left 20 people dead and brought to light safety issues that might have been prevented by laws that weren’t in place.

“For almost three years, I’ve worked hand-in-hand with the families, crafting a package of limousine reforms vital to saving lives and making New York roads safer,” said Sen. Schumer.

“I have been working diligently with Senator Schumer and our colleagues in Congress to close these dangerous loopholes in limo safety. This provision will directly address the lack of safety regulations in the limousine industry and hold limousine companies accountable to strict safety standards,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said.

The new federal regulations will:

  • Establish a program to provide funding for states to impound unsafe vehicles
  • Mandate that the Department of Transportation (DOT) establish a mandatory annual inspection regime
  • Conduct formal research and rulemaking on limo side-impact protection, roof crush assistance, and airbag systems
  • Conduct formal research and rule making on how to evacuate limo passengers more easily and safely in emergency situations;
  • Mandate limo operators conspicuously share their vehicle inspection history with prospective customers
  • Create a formal definition of a limousine in federal statute, making it easier to create safety standards for this type of vehicle

An additional amendment would:

  • Require lap and shoulder seat belts that meet minimum safety standards for every seat in a limo
  • Require new limousines to meet safety standards for seat strength and integrity
  • Require the Secretary of Transportation to evaluate the possibility of retrofitting existing limousines with lap and shoulder belts that meet minimum safety requirements
  • Require limo manufacturers altering used vehicles to certify they meet federal safety standards

“When I spoke to the families this morning, the feeling of rejoice was palpable and I commended them for their work and explained how awestruck I was that in the worst moments of their lives, when it was much easier to retreat into the darkness, they shined a light for all others and worked with me to make monumental change to this industry,” Sen. Schumer said.

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