10.14.18

SCHUMER REVEALS: DESPITE A 2015 COMMITMENT TO INVESTIGATE LIMO CRASHES & GATHER REQUIRED DATA TO ENACT SAFETY REGULATIONS, NTSB HAS NOT THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATED A SINGLE CRASH PRIOR TO LAST WEEKEND’S UPSTATE TRAGEDY; SENATOR DEMANDS FED AGENCY RE-COMMIT TO INVESTIGATIONS & ISSUE NECESSARY SAFETY RECS ON STRETCH LIMOS ASAP; LIVES AT STAKE

After A Tragic 2015 Long Island Stretch Limo Crash, Schumer Got NTSB To Agree To Investigate Limo Crashes Across Country Because More Information & Data Is Needed To Enact Better Regulations—BUT Despite Commitment, Safety Agency Hasn’t Issued Any Safety Recommendations & They Usually Do A Very Good Job 

Schumer Says NTSB Must Immediately Compile Data From Upstate Crash That Killed 18 Inside Party Limo & Swiftly Issue Any Necessary Emergency Recommendations Because Countless Aftermarket Limos Are On The Streets Right Now

Schumer: The End Of The Road For Dangerous Stretch Limos Demands New Safety Regs, Just Like Every Other Vehicle On Our Streets

A week after the tragic upstate limo crash that killed 18 inside the stretch limo and two pedestrians, today, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is revealing a glaring gap in the availability of data and safety recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigations. Schumer is revealing that after the NTSB committed that they would investigate limo crashes on a case-by-case basis in 2015, at his urging—they really haven’t been. Since the tragic 2015 Long Island limo crash that took the lives of four women, the NTSB has not thoroughly investigated a single U.S. limo crash, despite their earlier commitment to Schumer and multiple crashes since that should have been considered for investigation, and could have netted critical safety data about the structure and safety gaps of limos themselves.  

“While I commend the NTSB for their diligent and important work as part of this recent limo tragedy, I also feel disappointment in knowing that there were limo crashes since 2015 where the NTSB should have more thoroughly investigated and collected critical information, but instead were not,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.  “The sad fact here is that right now everyone is talking about limo safety when we could have been studying it for the past few years. The NTSB knows they need to help us fix this situation so we can have as much information as possible available. I’ve talked to the Chairman and he’s committed to doing so, because we have got to rein in these safety gaps. These stretch limos exist in a gray area—they are not a car and they are not a bus—and that’s the problem here, and it’s one we need to address at the federal level to save the most lives. The bottom line is that the end of the road for dangerous stretch limos demands new safety requirements.”

Schumer pointed out that NTSB is not solely responsible for fixing this issue, that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also has responsibility, but he is asking the NTSB to re-commit and follow through this time on fully investigating limo crashes across the country, not just mass casualty accidents, so that the feds can gather the critical data needed to consider changes to the laws and regulations on limos. Schumer is also demanding that as part of the ongoing investigation into the Albany-area crash, that the NTSB issue any immediate safety findings and recommendations on stretch limos.

Schumer’s original call for the NTSB to investigate limo crashes came in the wake of a tragic 2015 limo crash on Long Island that killed four innocent young women and injured others. The NTSB later agreed with Schumer and said they would investigate these crashes on a case-by-case basis. Beginning in 2015, there are been multiple limo crashes the NTSB could have investigated, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash reports. 2017 data is not yet available, but likely increases the number of crashes NTSB should have investigated. Schumer has also asked for the 2017 numbers to be released to his office as part of today’s push.

In making the case for the NTSB to re-commit to investigating limo crashes Schumer reiterated that there are significant gaps in the safety standards required for stretch limos and other similar aftermarket altered motor coaches. Often times, secondary market manufacturers alter limos after they’ve been produced by the vehicle’s original manufacturer. These secondary market changes may be superficial changes to the vehicle or may be more drastic; for instance, changes may include adding length to the vehicle chassis, blocking or removing emergency exists, changing the vehicle’s weight or changing the vehicle’s seating positions which can impact its occupancy limitations. Therefore, many stretch limos may lack certain basic safety features like the necessary number of side impact air bags, reinforced rollover protection bars, structurally sound frames and accessible emergency exists that can aid passengers and first responders in the event of a crash.

In his 2015 push, Schumer pointed to a number of limo crashes that could have potentially been mitigated if stronger safety requirements had been implemented. For instance, in 2013 a limo traveling on a bridge in San Francisco caught fire and passengers were trapped without an accessible exit. And, in June 2014, a limo bus and a tractor trailer collided, killing one passenger and injuring two, including the well-known comedian Tracey Morgan. Now, Schumer is pointing to the 2015 Long Island crash, and the tragic upstate, New York crash that killed 18 limo passengers as he renews this urgent call to action. Schumer is also pushing the NTSB to use the preliminary accident investigation report that is soon to be released to also include immediate safety recommendations that should be enacted right away.

This past Saturday, as reported by the New York State Police, a 2001 Ford Excursion limousine was traveling southwest on Route 30 and failed to stop at the Route 30A intersection in Schoharie, N.Y. The limo traveled across the intersection into the Apple Barrel County Store parking lot and struck a parked and unoccupied 2015 Toyota Highlander. The limo continued to travel into a small wooded ravine where it came to a rest. The accident tragically took the lives of all 18 people in the limousine and two pedestrians, 20 people in total. According to wide reports, this was America’s deadliest transport accident since 2009.

In 2015, a collision between a pickup truck and a stretch limousine on the North Fork of Long Island killed four woman and injured others. According to the Suffolk Times, the limousine attempted to make a U-turn on Route 48 in Cutchogue, N.Y. when a Dodge Ram pickup truck collided with the limo. Following this tragic accident, Senator Schumer urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to gather data needed to upgrade safety standards on stretch limos and other aftermarket altered motor coaches to better protect passengers and make the vehicles more crash resistant. In September of 2015, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) heeded the Senator’s call and agreed to investigate future limousine accidents as they occur on a case-by-case basis.

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