The Las Vegas Show had just ended, I had just unpinned my name badge and was nursing a beer in the casino lounge when a stranger approached. His plastic bag said American Custom Coachworks and there was little doubt he was a livery operator.
“It was a great show,” he said, “How was the attendance? I couldn’t help thinking how many other people had asked the same question over the past three days. Dozens of times, I had told people… “We have about 3,000 people which makes it our biggest show ever.” The operator nodded in approval, asked if I would send him the handout from keynoter Christopher Hegarty, and headed for the casino. Here are a few questions he probably meant to ask but forgot…
“Do you think stretch lengths are going to be restricted?”
Limousine manufactures must certify to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that their vehicles meet all 49 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. A number of these standards such as braking, impact resistance, and steering wheel protrusion are related to a vehicle’s weight and length. The question is… How long a limousine will coachbuilders eventual drive safely through Washington’s regulatory avenues? My guess is that there are ways to build limos long yet light. For the time being, make sure that a prospective purchase, when fully loaded, is no heavier than the gross vehicle weight rating marked inside the driver’s door.
Is there any way to get a break on insurance?
At the NLA Conference last January in Arlington. VA, one insurance company representative told operators to expect higher liability premiums in the near future. An alternative is to explore a risk retention program like the one available to members of the Limousine Operators of Connecticut.
Risk retention programs are not objectively rated by A.M. Best, like insurance companies are, but some programs are posting good track records in the livery industry.
Are tinted windows illegal?
One of NHTSA’s 49 standards restricts manufacturers from tinting windows on passenger vehicles. This is one of the easier standards for coachbuilders to comply with… and most are starting to. If tinting is legal in your state, you can still have it done by someone other than a coachbuilder.
We appreciate your questions and other input… Call, write, or fax us anytime. Did I mention how many people attended the Las Vegas Show…?