The New York Senate approved new safety regulations Thursday for limousines, following an upstate crash that killed 20 people last fall.
The nine bills endorsed Thursday include provisions that would require large stretch limos to have seat belts, increase licensing requirements for limo drivers, strengthen criminal penalties for drivers who violate traffic laws, and make it easier for the state to impound unsafe vehicles.
The bills haven’t yet received a vote in the state Assembly. They were introduced in response to two limo crashes in recent years that killed 24. Several relatives of those lost attended Thursday’s vote in the Senate.
“We’re taking significant steps to ensure safety measures are firmly in place when anyone steps into one of these vehicles,” said Sen. Tim Kennedy, a Buffalo Democrat and the chairman of the Senate’s transportation committee.
Authorities say the limo in last fall’s crash in Schoharie County was unsafe and shouldn’t have been on the road.
In 2015, four women were killed in a stretch limo wreck on Long Island. The vehicle was T-boned while trying to make a U-turn.
At a hearing on the bills last month, relatives of those killed in the crashes urged lawmakers to increase regulations to prevent future incidents.
“These vehicles are death traps. We cannot allow these vehicles to share our roads,” Mindy Grabina, whose daughter died in the Long Island crash, told lawmakers at the hearing. “We cannot allow these vehicles to share our roads.”
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