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A Fatal Limo Crash Brings About Safety Concerns

At the beginning of October of this year, a stretch limo was involved in a fatal crash in upstate New York over the weekend. During the investigation, it was found that the limo had recently failed a safety inspection and the driver was not properly licensed to operate the limo.

As a result of the crash, eighteen passengers were killed along with two pedestrians. Federal officials had said that it is one of the deadliest transportation accidents they have seen in the United States since the plane crash that occurred back in 2009.

Driver Error or Vehicle Modification?

It was said to be unclear if the fatal accident was caused by driver error or a vehicle malfunction. However, during the investigation, it was ordered that the company cease operations. They failed to comply with state regulations, and this accident has spurred safety concerns regarding limos and other “Frankenstein” type vehicles on the road.

Vehicle Modification

Modifications have been found to happen to these vehicles that can ultimately affect the way the vehicle is handled and withstands accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is who sets the standards for manufactured vehicles, but limousines are often modified on the line and fly under the radar of the NHTSA.

Varying Regulations

Another problem with these vehicles and standards is the varying regulations we see state to state. For example, some states do not require that passengers in the back seat wear seatbelts. However, New York authorities chose not to comment about the use of seat belts in this particular limo accident.

Services for Hire

Additionally, it is up to each individual state to regulate these kind of services that are for hire. While the standards for vehicle design are set by the NHTSA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is who is responsible for commercial vehicle operations.

The Dangers of Custom Fabricated Vehicles

Any vehicle that is modified or custom fabricated and does not fall in line with state standards and regulations is at risk. The overall design of a vehicle and its manufacturing undergo a lengthy and involved health and safety inspection. Steps are taken to ensure that the vehicle is safe to operate.

However, any modifications to the vehicle after it has been inspected leaves room for danger because you do not know exactly how these modifications will react during an accident. Whether it is using the wrong size tires, removing or adding seats, or adjusting the height of the vehicle; all of these modifications and custom fabrications leave plenty of room for error and disaster.

Looking Ahead

A lot of the responsibility for these kinds of oversights will fall to the state in which the incident is happening. However, it is a federal responsibility to oversee the companies that are operating in each state, but even here the lines are blurred and hard to determine which leads to the oversight.

It is never safe to alter any commercial vehicle in any way. The seatbelts and airbags, for example, are put in place for the safety and health of the driver and passengers. And even if your state does not require that you buckle up as a backseat passenger, it is still advisable that you do so.

If you have any questions on the legality of accidents that are a result of vehicle modifications, you can consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.

During his time as a public attorney for the State of Florida, Bernard Walsh developed a passion for defending the legal rights of Florida's citizens. Having seen many people being taken advantage of after being injured and the financial harm that can cause for families he committed himself fully to helping injured clients get justice, by fighting to make greedy insurance companies pay what they owe.

A Fatal Limo Crash Brings About Safety Concerns

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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