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Stretch limo rides are not always a celebration

Stretch limousines have been used as transportation for weddings or birthdays because these vehicles can hold more than dozen partiers and keep drunk drivers off the road. However, the absence of regulations have increased the odd of commercial vehicle accidents involving limousines.

Statistically, limousines are comparatively safe. There was only one limo-related death among 34,439 traffic fatalities in 2016. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 12 accidents involving limousines over the last five years. But the death of 17 limo passengers, its driver and two bystanders in a New York crash in Oct. raised concerns about the safety of these vehicles.

Prevalent transportation requirements do not govern converted stretch limousines. These include side-impact airbags, reinforced rollover protections bars, and emergency exists that are accessible. California enacted regulations covering escape windows and annual safety inspections after five women died in a limousine fire in 2013 when they could not open the vehicle's doors.

Rules do not address driver qualifications. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the limo driver in the Oct. 2018 crash did not have the appropriate driver's license for driving that limousine.

Construction regulations govern factor-built, stretch limousines, converted vehicles do not have to meet these requirements. This is especially concerning because these vehicles may be described as a rigged innovation in which the vehicle is cut in half. A 10-foot extension is added and then secured by panels, bolts and welding. A grand jury investigation of a converted limousine accident in 2015 also revealed that standard safety features are missing in these vehicles.

Finally, the limousine's design restricts its ability to make a U-turn. The 2015 limo accident took place when the vehicle was making a U-turn and was hit broadside by a truck.

Victims of a limousine or other commercial vehicle accident may be entitled to compensation. Seeking legal representation is an important first step for pursuing this legal right.

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