A package of bills meant to bolster limousine safety in New York is advancing through the state Senate and could be approved in the coming weeks, Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Tim Kennedy said Thursday.
The bills were approved by Kennedy’s committee earlier in the day. Several will be ticketed for the Senate Finance Committee.
“The vast majority of them will be fast tracked to the floor and my expectation is that we will pass them in the next couple of weeks,” Kennedy said.
The measures include requirements for limousines to have seat belts, escape hatches and roll bars. Drivers would have to carry a commercial driver’s license and undergo criminal background checks as well as drug and alcohol testing. Kennedy also wants a task force for further study of the issue and increased penalties for breaking the laws governing limo safety.
The limousine safety measures were proposed in the wake of a stretch limo crash in Schoharie that killed 20 people last year. Lawmakers earlier this month had a hearing on the issue, which also came after some limo insurance issues were taken up in the state budget.
Kennedy said the family members of crash victims in both upstate New York and on Long Island were “instrumental in advancing this limousine safety legislation.”
“They were two tragic crashes that should have and could have been prevented,” he said. “The legislation that we’re putting forward directly impacts the reasoning behind those limousine crashes.”