Over the weekend, we saw the year’s most devastating accident. In upstate New York, 20 people were killed in a limo accident. Now, the New York Times reports that the limousine in the accident had repeatedly failed state inspections and that the limo wasn’t fit to be on the road. It also appears that the driver of the vehicle wasn’t licensed to be operating a limousine. According to CNN, the limo driver legally needed to hold a commercial driver’s license with an endorsement to carry passengers in order to operate the vehicle. The limo driver did not have this license or endorsement.
Why did the accident occur? Investigators are still trying to determine whether the accident was the result of driver error or due to mechanical failure—or possibly both.
The limo crash has been called the worst transportation accident in New York in the last nine years. The limousine ran through a stop sign, colliding with two pedestrians, hitting an unoccupied parked car, eventually ending up in a ravine. All 18 people in the limo were killed and two pedestrians were also killed in the accident. The intersection where the accident took place was known locally as a notoriously dangerous stretch of highway. The Department of Transportation had identified the intersection as a dangerous location and the Times reports that there were plans to turn the intersection into a roundabout.
Other factors contributed to the accident’s deadliness. Limo riders rarely wear restraints. Only one person in the limo had been wearing a seat belt. He survived the initial impact, but was later pronounced dead at the hospital. The accident also highlights the real risk that failing to wear a seatbelt can pose. While rear passengers in limos are not required to wear seatbelts, seatbelt use is known to save lives. In the case of this accident, however, the impact was so severe, the damage so terrible, that even the single passenger wearing a seatbelt didn’t survive.
The accident highlights the risk that limos can pose to the public, especially when companies cut corners. Reports indicate that the limo may have been modified from its manufacturer’s specifications. It isn’t clear whether these modifications might have affected the structural integrity of the vehicle. Investigators are trying to understand whether the brakes failed or whether the driver failed to stop.
How safe are limos? It really depends on the company you choose. Before hiring a limo company, consumers are wise to do their research about the safety of vehicles. The Law Offices of Robert Gregg are personal injury lawyers in Dallas, Texas who are closely following this tragic story. Our firm works with victims and families whose lives have been impacted by car crashes and our thoughts are with the families of those lost in this tragic accident. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident, consider reaching out to us today to learn more about your rights and options under the law.