Is NY Governor Seeking A Stretch Limousine Ban?

Posted on January 15, 2019

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo (Photo via Wikimedia Commons user Pat Arnow)

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo (Photo via Wikimedia Commons user Pat Arnow)

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Jan. 15 comprehensive safety reforms for limousines and large passenger vehicles will be included in the 2019 executive budget.

Following the accident involving a modified stretched limousine in Schoharie County on Oct. 6, 2018, that killed 20 people, the Governor has committed to enacting essential safety reforms into law.

"This crash was a horrific tragedy that shocked this state to its very core," Cuomo said in a press release. "We are advancing reforms that will give aggressive new powers that will allow authorities to take dangerous vehicles off the roads without delay, hold unscrupulous businesses accountable, and increase public safety in every corner of New York."

Cuomo proposes a number of statutory reforms to protect passengers and hold those accountable who seek to defy the law.

The first one, which has generated concern among New York state limousine operators, states: "An outright ban on the registration of remanufactured limousines, prohibiting their operation in New York State."

Doug Schwartz, a Long Island operator who serves as President of the Long Island Transportation Association and as a board director of the National Limousine Association, told LCT he and association colleagues are tyring to decipher seemingly contradictory language on pages 215 and 216 of the FY 2020 New York State Executive Budget Transportation Economic Development and Environmental Conservation Article VII Legislation. [Scroll to p. 215-216 here]

Page 215 refers to operators of modified vehicles needing to furnish certification that the vehicle complies with state laws; page 216, however, refers to authorities not registering any vehicle modified to add length or passenger seating capacity, including stretch limousines.

“We don’t completely understand yet what it means,” Schwartz told LCT. “We are trying to understand some contradictions and get clarification. I’m organizing operators via email to get a discussion going.”

Schwartz said he and other operators will likely attend a Jan. 30 session in Albany of the Joint New York Legislation Hearing related to transportation matters and the limousine/livery industry.

“We have to get out and voice why banning stretch limousines is a bad idea,” he said. “We’ll take a ride up there and see what the issues are. At best, we should get an exemption from QVM and CMC stretch limousines.”

Schwartz said he so far finds the other statutory reforms outlined the Governor's plan as acceptable, but wants to take a closer look:

  • Require drivers to hold a commercial driver license with a special passenger endorsement to operate a for-hire vehicle with eight or more passengers
  • Make it a felony to remove an out-of-service sticker placed by a DOT inspector from a vehicle without having the vehicle re-inspected and cleared by DOT to return to service; Increase the civil penalty to a maximum fine of $25,000 per violation for any person found operating with suspended DOT operating authority or operating a vehicle without such authority and subject such actors to felony prosecution
  • Establish stronger registration suspension and vehicle impoundment powers, including an explicit process for immediate suspension of operating authority by the DOT Commissioner in circumstances that endanger the health, safety, and welfare of the public
  • The state of New York could be in for some major changes for limousine owners. (Photo via Pexels user Quintin Gellar)

    The state of New York could be in for some major changes for limousine owners. (Photo via Pexels user Quintin Gellar)

    Explicitly authorize DOT and DMV to seize suspended license plates
  • Make it a felony for any owner/operator to tamper with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard tag or vehicle inspection sticker
  • Ensure vehicle impoundment occurs for purposes of felony violations and subject multiple violators to the potential for civil forfeiture of vehicle
  • Require mandatory reporting by inspection stations to DMV if a vehicle attempts an unauthorized inspection
  • Create new criminal penalties for any DMV-regulated inspection station that illegally issues an inspection sticker
  • Prohibit U-turns for larger vehicles on all roads within the state
  • Eliminate the exception to seatbelt requirements for limousines, buses, taxis, liveries, and school buses
  • Establish a DOT inspection fee of $120 per inspection for vehicles subject to such inspection.

Sources: New York State Press Release; Martin Romjue, LCT

Albany Times-Union article here

LCT background information: Limousine Crash coverage here

Related Topics: legislation, limo crashes, limousine safety, New York, New York operators, New York state regulations, passenger safety, state regulations, stretch limousine, vehicle safety

Comments ( 5 )
  • Anonymous

     | about 2 years ago

    The state is covering up that limousine accident with all these regulations to destroy a struggling industry competing with Uber and Lyft. Those who died in that limousine crash were dead before it crashed due to carbon monoxide poisoning. All the people in the limousine had no cell phone activity for at least 15 minutes before the crash which is impossible for anyone in the 25-35 age group to do. They did not all die in the crash they were already dead.

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