NTSB calls for new limousine safety standards

October 02, 2019 06:35 PM

The NTSB released new safety recommendations for limousines based on findings from the Schoharie crash investigation. This includes requiring lap and shoulder belts for every passenger seat in vehicles modified to become limousines.

The NTSB also wants the National Limousine Association to educate members on the benefits of proper seat belt use, and they want regular inspections of those seat belts - something New York State DOT says it already does.


The NTSB also provided insights into the crash investigation.

A new 15 page NTSB report shows some of the 17 passengers might have survived if they were wearing seat belts. None of them were, and findings are quick to point out those non-OEM seat belts were under the bench seats and invisible and inaccessible to these passengers. The report also finds the crash was not survivable for the limo driver.

It was issued by the NTSB Wednesday morning and includes the first photos of the Schoharie limousine crash that we're seeing, from officials which show the front portion of the 2001 Ford Excursion stretch limo modified 144 inches, a mangled mess, but the rear of the modified vehicle largely intact after the crash.

The chairman of the NTSB, Robert Sumwalt III, who NewsChannel 13 interviewed in Washington D.C. says most of the seats in this vehicle were not adequately designed or manufactured.

Recommendations include to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA requiring lap/shoulder belts for each passenger seating position on all new vehicles modified to be used as limos – and require that seating systems installed in new vehicles modified to be used as limos meet minimum performance standards to ensure their integrity in a crash.

Recommendations to NYS DOT include ensuring seat belts are functional and accessible in all limousines with seat belts, and educating member limo operators on the lifesaving benefits of proper seat belt use, and reiterating enacting legislation to provide primary enforcement of mandatory seat belt use law and passenger restraint system.

The goal is to keep people safe and prevent this from happening again.

Click here to read the full NTSB Safety Recommendation Report.

The NTSB will issue a final accident report once the Schoharie investigation is finished in addition to the safety recommendation report released Wednesday.


WNYT Staff

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