Exactly eight months after the deadly limousine crash in Schoharie, the state Senate unanimously passed a package of bills Thursday meant to make limousines safer.
With many of the victims' families watching on, nine bills were approved. They require drivers to get commercial licenses and mandate random drug and alcohol testing for those drivers. Limos carrying nine or more passengers would need seat belts.
They would also authoritize the DOT to immobilize stretch limos with defects.
These laws were drawn up with the help of victims' families, people like Kevin Cushing, the father of Patrick, a victim of the Schoharie crash.
Limo lobbyists previously called the regulations a burden.
"I'll tell you what's a burden: burying your son," Cushing responded.
"We’re grieving families. And we grieve daily, sometimes by the hour. At least now we can channel it into possibly getting laws changed in such a way that no other family has to go through what we’re going through."
Cushing says he never expected to become an advocate.
"Honoring him through softball tournaments is great, but Patrick was more than that, and he would not want this to happen to any other kid," Kevin said.
Since October, Cushing joined with the other 19 victims' families to bring change at the state level. That includes the King family, who lost four daughters and three of their husbands.
The Schoharie families joined families of the victims of a 2015 Long Island limo crash. It's a change Paul Schuman, who lost his daughter, says took four years too long.
"The first time I met the families of Schoharie, I didn't know what to say to them, because I felt like I failed them," Schuman said. "Because I've been fighting for this prior to them so that that wouldn't have happened."
These bills now move to the Assembly. However, the chairman of the Assembly transportation commitee tells Spectrum News he is not committing to passing the entire package. He wouldn't say exactly which ones the lawmakers were looking to pass.