New York Governor Hochul Proposes Limousine Safety Bill

November 17, 2023

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced a legislative proposal to improve safety within the limousine industry.

The bill includes provisions requiring that stretch limousines be equipped with enhanced safety features and prohibiting the operation of a stretch limousine that is more than 10 years old or has milage exceeding 350,000 miles.

Hochul’s proposed Stretch Limousine Passenger Safety Act is based on reforms recommended by a limousine safety task force that require statutory changes.

The Passenger Safety Task Force was originally established in 2020 as a response to limousine crashes in Cutchogue in 2015 and Schoharie in 2018. In the fall of 2022, the task force released its report.

Limit on Limousines’ Miles Is Among New York Safety Panel’s 16 Recommendations

Hochul said the Departments of Transportation and Motor Vehicles have made progress administratively, including overhauling the vehicle registration and change of ownership process, increasing the number of reviews of limousines, increasing the level of coordination between states, and increasing enforcement actions against those who fraudulently register and operate limousines.

The Stretch Limousine Passenger Safety Act addresses the legislative recommendations of the task force including:

  • Requiring a minimum $10,000 fine for operating a suspended stretch limousine and authorizing the Department of Transportation to collaborate with law enforcement to seize license plates of offenders driving passenger vehicles subject to their jurisdiction.
  • Requiring that stretch limousines to be equipped with enhanced safety features including window break tools, fire extinguishers, improved emergency egress, and roll-over protection.
  • Prohibiting the operation of a stretch limousine that is over 10 years old or has milage exceeding 350,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
  • Improving data availability on limousine operators.
  • Mandating that all stretch limousine passengers be given a pre-trip safety briefing.

In May, a limousine service manager was convicted of manslaughter in a 2018 crash in Schoharie, a village west of Albany. Seventeen passengers, the driver and two bystanders were killed. State Inspector General Lucy Lang released a report echoing federal regulators who concluded in 2020 that the state regulators fell short in their oversight of the limousine.

In 2015, four women were killed and four others seriously injured in a limousine crash in Long Island wine country.