ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10/WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) — Five years ago, a limousine carrying a driver and 17 passengers celebrating a birthday, experienced break failure and crashed near the Apple Barrel Country Store in Schoharie. Everyone in the vehicle and two pedestrians were killed.
“It was a devastating event that effected our communities in so many ways,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. “It left a scar on our community, and we continue to think of the families that lost loved ones.”
Following the crash, the state took action to make limousines safer. One of the laws created a limousine safety taskforce. In January of this year, both the Senate and Assembly passed a bill to extend that taskforce, so it could continue to provide recommendations to the state.
“This task force is critical for being a fresh set of eyes each and every year to advise the legislature on may be something that we haven’t done yet, but maybe need it in the future. That bill is a very important bill,” explained Santabarbara. “I urge the governor to sign it.”
According to her office, Governor Kathy Hochul is reviewing it.
This year, a handful of other limo bills also passed in the Senate. Those bills include:
- roll-over protection devices
- Window break tools
- Seizure and redemption of unlawfully operated and unsafe commercial vehicles
- No longer operating limousines more than 10 years old or have 350,000 miles on them
However, the bills haven’t been acted upon by the Assembly, which sparked criticism.
“There is a whole bunch of pieces of legislation which are not getting any attention in the Assembly after five years,” said Senator Jim Tedisco. “As I said, that’s unconscionable and I know the parents, the family members, all the loved ones want to see some action take place because the only meaningful thing we can do right on behalf of these lost lives and on behalf of the families is to make the other people safer in New York State.”
A spokesperson for Speaker Carl Heastie said the remaining bills have some issues and will continue to be worked on. He emphasized that since 2019, more than 20 limo safety measures have been enacted into law.