Are Stretch Limos Safe?


OMAHA, Nebraska. You’re probably ridden in a stretch limo at some point in your life. Either you rented one with your friends to go to prom, rented one for a birthday, or rented a limo to get you to and from your wedding. Many people rent limos for special occasions because they believe that they are safer. After all, it’s better to have someone drive you to your destination in style rather than drinking and driving. After a recent tragic accident in upstate New York, some are wondering whether limos are that safe, after all. The crash, which killed 18 people riding in the limo and resulted in the deaths of two pedestrians, has been called the worst transportation accident in the state in 9 years. Are stretch limos safe?

According to NBC News, the stretch limo involved in the accident is what is known as a “chopped vehicle.” The vehicle is purchased as a regular passenger vehicle, and is later chopped in half and retrofitted to accommodate more passengers. When cars are converted into limos in this manner, they can pose a range of safety risks to passengers. Initial reports indicate that the limo involved in the upstate New York accident was not in compliance with New York law. Yet, federal laws regulating limousine safety vary across the country. Many of these vehicles might have safety features removed in the process of conversion. In fact, one engineer has noted that the sheer weight of the limo involved in New York’s accident might have been dangerous enough to lead to the crash. Modified vehicles sometimes retain the same brakes designed to stop a passenger vehicle. These brakes may not be enough to stop a modified vehicle, which can weigh more. The accident occurred when the limo didn’t stop at a dangerous T-intersection. The limo barreled right through, striking a parked car, striking two pedestrians, and ending up in a ravine. Regulators are currently looking into the factors that led to the accident. It isn’t clear whether driver error or a problem with the vehicle’s brakes resulted in the accident. It is possible that a combination of factors may have played a role.

Another factor that can make limos more dangerous, has more to do with rider behavior. Even when limos are equipped with enough seat belts for all passengers, passengers may not always use them. Only one rider in the limo was wearing a seat belt. He survived the initial impact but later died in the hospital.

So, what can consumers do to ensure that their ride experience is safe? Use only reputable companies and ask about the company’s safety record before you ride. The New York Times notes that the tragic accident might likely spur more research into the safety of stretch limos, but until greater regulations are more widespread, it is up to consumers to do their research before booking a limo.

Rensch & Rensch Law are Omaha, Nebraska personal injury lawyers whose thoughts are with the families whose lives have been impacted by this tragic crash. If you or a loved one was hurt in an accident, consider reaching out to our firm at today. We may be able to help you seek justice and chart a roadmap forward after tragedy strikes.

Rensch & Rensch Law
7602 Pacific Street,
Suite 102
Omaha, NE 68114

Rensch & Rensch

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