New legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would change the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s requirements for retrofitted limousines.
Current law allows more lenient safety requirements for re-sold vehicles when compared to vehicles sold as new. Requirements for seat belts or exit areas are different, especially as some limousines purchased second hand may become altered or expanded to combat capacity limitations.
The bill is a direct response to October’s fatal limousine crash in Schoharie County along Route 30A that claimed 20 lives.
It has been recorded as the U.S.’s most deadly transportation accident within the past nine years.
The passengers were traveling in a rented, modified 2001 Ford Excursion. It had failed inspection barely a month prior.
By Republican Reps. John Faso and Elise Stefanik and Democratic Rep. John Faso introduced the legislation.
“NHTSA regulations are in place for a reason,” Faso said.
“Each time a new vehicle is sold, it must undergo a thorough safety examination. However, if the vehicle is substantively modified to add more seating, it is not subject to the same safety checks. It’s vital that vehicles which are significantly modified undergo a strict amount of scrutiny. The recent tragedy in Schoharie County which took the lives of 20 people must move the Congress to close this loophole and enact stricter rules on modified vehicles. While there were certainly other factors surrounding this crash which are the subject to federal and state investigation, as well as a criminal prosecution, making sure modified vehicles are safer is a critical step.”
Nauman Hussein, operator and son of Prestige Limousine owner Shahed Hussain, faces criminally negligent homicide charges and will be prosecuted by the Schoharie County DA.
A lawsuit has been filed against Prestige Limousine’s owners by the family of victim Amanda Rivenburg.
Today, the lawyer representing Rivenburg’s family announced the family intends to file a lawsuit against the State of New York on grounds of negligence.
The incident remains under investigation by both state and federal authorities.
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