State officials announce deal on limo safety regs

State officials announce deal on limo safety regs
Twenty people died -- including two from Watertown -- when a limousine crashed in Schoharie, N.Y. in October 2018. (Source: WWNY)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Political leaders in New York have reached an agreement to pass new limousine safety bills inspired by deadly crashes in 2015 and 2018, officials said Tuesday.

The October 2018 crash in Schoharie, N.Y. killed 20 people -- most of whom were from the same family -- including Mary and Rob Dyson of Watertown.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that the proposals target unsafe limos and lax regulations and will hold companies accountable.

“The crashes that have taken place because of unsafe limos and lax regulations are tragedies,” Stewart-Cousins said, “and we have a responsibility to address this problem.”

The legislation also includes immobilization of defective limousines, GPS and customer service resource requirements, regular validation of vehicle and driver safety information, creation of a passenger task force, and drug and alcohol testing.

“These comprehensive reforms will give authorities much-needed new powers to get dangerous vehicles off the road, weed out bad actors and put into place common sense safety standards that will increase public safety in every corner of New York," Cuomo said.

Another bill would require limo drivers carrying nine or more passengers to have a passenger-endorsed commercial driver's license.

“The bills we pass today build on the progress we made in last year’s budget," Heastie said, "creating necessary oversight for the for-hire limousine industry and ensuring they are held accountable.”

The Senate and Assembly passed separate packages of limousine safety bills last year, but lawmakers were unable to resolve the differences between the two.

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