The limousine in the crash that killed 20 people on Saturday in Schoharie had failed multiple inspections. Its driver was not licensed to operate it. But Governor Andrew Cuomo says it's unlikely a law could have prevented the crash.
“I don't know if this is a situation where we can find a new law or a new regulation,” he said.
Cuomo says federal law is responsible for how limousines are classified, grouping them with buses. In New York, backseat passengers do not have to wear seat belts in a stretch limo.
“You know, the instinct is always, ‘We need a law, we need a new regulation.’ Sometimes the law worked fine and the regulation worked fine. They were just broken,” said Cuomo.
But Republican state Senator Jim Tedisco disagrees. He's researching the vehicle and traffic laws to determine if a proposed bill is needed.
“We have to evaluate: Are there other laws and regulations we need? There may not be. There may be nothing we can do for someone who breaks the law,” said Jim Tedisco, (R) Senate – Glenville.
Tedisco says he wants a short window of time between a vehicle like a limousine failing an inspection and a subsequent follow-up inspection to determine if the problems have been dealt with.
“Maybe we need some laws in which we say, ‘We'll be back in a week and if it's not inspected and cleared, there's a $500 fine,” he said.
And Tedisco says there should be a more stringent review of a company's employees to determine if they are eligible to operate a limousine.
“I want to see the driver's licenses of everybody you've hired and I want to know the vehicles that they’re driving and I want to know that they've got the appropriate licenses to drive these vehicles,” said Tedisco.
The crash is a personal one for the state Senate: Among those killed was Patrick Cushing, who worked in the chamber's IT department.