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Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Paris Luff, who deserves the best seat in a chauffeured vehicle.
A new child booster seat coming to market in 2016 known as Mifold claims that 85% of all limousine/livery drivers surveyed have been asked to provide a booster seat. About 30% reported lost sales as a result of not providing one. While Mifold didn’t cite who or when their study was done, their reported numbers are likely accurate.
The Liability Argument
In an informal operator poll conducted by LCT Magazine, it seems small fleet operators are more likely to avoid having anything to do with car seats because of liability fears. However, large companies such as Commonwealth Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation in Boston have issued policies governing the cleaning, storage and usage of car seats. The two primary goals for such specifics are safety and convenience for passengers, says Tami Saccoccio, Commonwealth’s affiliate manager.
Generally, you are liable for anything that happens in your vehicles. That’s why operators have insurance to protect themselves and to pay out claims if held liable.
“If it is in my car, I’m already responsible for what happens,” says Jon Hook of Stars Luxury Limousine in North Bay, Ontario. “What difference is it if I offer the seat and convenience to the client?”
Most likely, your insurance provider will settle any claims against your company long before you and the claimant reach a jury trial. Refusing to provide car seats out of liability concerns doesn’t make sense. Can you imagine a restaurant refusing to provide a high chair or booster seat because of liability concerns? A child in a car seat or booster strapped into a vehicle is much less likely to get hurt than a child tumbling out of one in a restaurant.
Zurich NA Insurance - Official Position
Zurich Insurance is a major carrier in the industry and provides the following tips for operators:
- Recognize that as the vehicle operator, your chauffeur or driver, and by extension you, are ultimately responsible for passenger safety. The best approach is to analyze exposures and hazards. Then develop measures to eliminate, control and minimize the risk and hazards. Foremost, set up a strong management program that details how to provide and install child safety seats as part of your transportation service. Company management, supervisors and drivers all must be educated and help ensure passengers are kept safe.
- Supplying the correct car seat can be a challenge because there are a variety of types — everything from rear-facing for an infant to boosters for a toddler. You must know the specific age and weight of the child to supply the correct safety seat. Excellent information on car seat selection, installation and use is available at the U.S. government website: http://www.safercar.gov/parents/CarSeats/Car-Seat-Safety.htm
- Operators should train chauffeurs and drivers expected to handle car seats on how to choose and install specific ones. Some organizations such as law enforcement agencies will provide free training and inspection for chauffeurs, drivers and parents to confirm that child safety seats are being correctly installed.