MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota. Many things went wrong last week in a devastating limo accident that left 20 people dead. According to the New York Times, the limousine itself failed traffic inspections and the driver didn’t have the right license to be driving a limo with people inside. Reports indicate that the intersection where the accident took place was known by locals in upstate New York to be deadly. In fact, New York transportation officials had reportedly discussed turning the intersection into a roundabout. Finally, it appears that only one person inside the limo was wearing a seat belt. He was the only person who survived the initial wreck, only to die later in the hospital.
The accident is devastating and the nation mourns for the families whose lives have been changed forever by this tragedy. Yet, this crash has many people raising questions about the safety of stretch limousines. Are they safe? According to Today, unlike other vehicles that are subject to strict regulations, stretch limos don’t have to abide by the same strict safety requirements. In some cases, in order to achieve the distinctive look and feel of a limo, sometimes safety features are removed from limos. While front seat drivers and front seat passengers would be required by law to wear seatbelts, safety officials noted that backseat riders of limos are not required to wear seat belts.
This isn’t the only serious deadly accident involving limos in recent years. Other accidents include crashes where a vehicle broadsided a limo, killing all passengers, and another incident in San Francisco where a limo caught fire. Converted limos might be the most dangerous of all, with Today reporting that these vehicles may not have side-impact airbags nor rollover protection nor accessible emergency exits. When companies take regular vehicles and turn them into stretch limos, these new converted vehicles may not have the structural integrity of a regular vehicle.
While New York has some of the strictest laws regulating limousines and drivers, the laws might not be strict enough. Under New York law, drivers must hold a commercial driver’s license for carrying passengers (which the driver of this limo did not have) and vehicles must pass regular inspections. However, other state’s laws may not be as strict. California is another state with strict laws. It requires stretch limos to have accessible emergency exits, but it is the only state with a law like this on the books.
The accident highlights one of the biggest immediate risks facing limo riders—the failure of limo riders to wear seatbelts. If you plan to ride in a limo, do your research on the company you are booking with, and make sure that you buckle up. Even if it is not the law, it could keep you safe in the event of a crash.
The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino is a personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis, Minnesota whose thoughts are with the families affected by this tragedy. Our firm works closely with victims of car crashes. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident in Minneapolis, visit our firm at https://www.martinmontilino.com/ to protect your rights and understand the steps you can take to seek justice.
THE LAW OFFICE OF MARTIN T. MONTILINO, LLC
3109 Hennepin Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Phone: (612) 236-1320