Gov. Cuomo proposing limo safety changes after Schoharie crash

    (WRGB photo)

    Albany, N.Y. (WHAM) - Among the many items outlined in the 2019 executive budget for New York will be safety reforms for limousines and large passenger vehicles.

    Governor Cuomo announced Tuesday that he is proposing several safety updates to laws regarding the vehicles after 20 people were killed in an October crash in the town of Schoharie. The 2001 Ford Excursion limo drove through a stop sign, killing the 18 limousine passengers and driver, along with two pedestrians.

    The limousine being driven in the crash was later found to be a converted after-market model - cut in half and stretched. In that process, many safety features, such as side bars and airbags, are removed.

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    "This crash was a horrific tragedy that shocked this state to its very core," Governor Cuomo said. "We are advancing reforms that will give aggressive new powers that will allow authorities to take dangerous vehicles off the roads without delay, hold unscrupulous businesses accountable and increase public safety in every corner of New York."

    The proposal being put forth by the Democratic governor would include an outright ban on the registration of remanufactured limousines and prevent them from being operated in the state, as well as require drivers of limos and other large passenger vehicles to have a commercial driver license (CDL) with a special passenger endorsement to operate a for hire vehicle with 8 or more passengers.

    Penalties for tampering with DOT inspection stickers, suspended registrations and license plates, would also be increased - in some cases leading to felony charges. The exception to seatbelt requirements would be eliminated for limousines, buses, school buses, liveries and taxis.

    A DOT inspection fee of $120 per inspection would also be added.

    The State of the State address by the governor is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

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