New York’s State Senate in late-January passed a package of bills designed to strengthen safety standards and oversight for stretch limousines, in response to a couple of high profile crashes in recent years: one that killed four women on Long Island in 2015; the other, which occurred in 2018, claimed the lives of 20 people in the Capitol Region.
Bills in the package seek to align the state’s Safe Limo rating system more closely with federal protocols, create new limo retirement thresholds and add safety features like roll-over protections.
While there currently aren’t companion bills for the package in the Assembly, the majority leader said the lower chamber is expected to introduce and pass their own versions of the legislation. Governor Kathy Hochul directed the Stretch Limousine Passenger Safety Task Force to draft recommendations for improving limousine safety, shortly after taking office in 2021. NY’s Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Transportation are also working to implement guidance from a report issued by state Inspector General Lucy Lang last fall.
Bill S1371 seeks to bring the state’s Safer Limo rating system more in-line with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER system. S1443A, would implement a new limo retirement threshold at either 10 years or 350,000 miles, whichever comes first. S1442 and S1368 would add new safety features such as window break tools, fire extinguishers, rollover protections and “anti-intrusion devices” – like cages, pillars and bars. The package also contains legislation extending the task force until Dec. 2024, enabling them to complete their work.