Legislators seek tighter inspection requirements for limo companies

The Post-Star
December 11, 2018

By: Staff Report

Three Capital Region congressional representatives have introduced legislation to close a loophole allowing retrofitted limousines to avoid re-inspection requirements.

Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville; John Faso, R-Kinderhook and Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, have introduced legislation that would require limousines that are bought and lengthened to increase capacity to be subject to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations regarding issues such as seat belt and egress point requirements.

The legislation comes in response to a limousine crash on Oct. 6 in Schoharie that killed 20 people.

A 2001 stretch Ford Excursion owned by Prestige Limousine crashed into the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country Store and then plunged into a ditch. Killed in the accident was a group of 17 friends and family members on their way to a birthday celebration in Cooperstown, as well as the driver and two bystanders in the parking lot.

“This common sense legislation will enhance limo safety and work to prevent tragic accidents like the crash in Schoharie from ever happening again,” Stefanik said in a news release.

The vehicle was required to be inspected by the state Department of Transportation every six months. However, a Times-Union investigation found that the Excursion was improperly inspected by two auto centers licensed by the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

A lawsuit was filed last month in state Supreme Court by the parents of one of the victims, Amanda Rivenburg, against Shahed Hussain, the owner of Prestige Limousine, and his son, Nuaman Hussain, who has been charged with criminally negligent homicide.