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U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today released the following statement following the release of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Safety Recommendation Report one year after a tragic accident in Schoharie took the lives of 20 New Yorkers:

“The devastating limousine tragedy in Schoharie that took the lives of twenty New Yorkers has left an unfathomable heartbreak and a lasting scar on the Schoharie and Montgomery communities that has been felt each day since. The NTSB’s new safety recommendations have shown us that we can, and absolutely must, do more to close the fatal gaps in limo-safety standards that contributed decisively to this tragedy. I’m inspired by the families of these victims who have, in the midst of their unimaginable suffering, made it their mission to increase the safety of these vehicles before more lives are lost, and am going to stand by their side every step of the way. As our community continues to recover from this horrific accident, I’ll work hand-in-hand with the families and in a bi-partisan way with all of my New York Congressional colleagues to ensure the lives lost are never forgotten and that we spur the federal government to make meaningful safety reforms with all due speed,” said Senator Schumer.

On October 6th 2018, 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.

Senator Schumer has long fought to promote safety within the aftermarket stretch limousine industry. In 2015, a collision between a pickup truck and a stretch limousine on the North Fork of Long Island killed four women 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 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 Schumer’s original investigatory call and agreed to investigate future limousine accidents as they occur on a case-by-case basis. In 2018, after the fatal crash in Schoharie, Schumer immediately called on NTSB to complete a thorough investigation into stretch limousines and issue safety recommendations, which it has now done.