New York residents may not be aware of this fact, but not all passengers in limousines are required to wear lap and shoulder belts. Limousines can be modified to such an extent that they can be considered midsize buses, which means they do not have to be subject to the seating and seat belt standards that traditional vehicles do. This is beginning to be a problem, however.
For example, a stretch limousine crash that occurred back in October 2018 in the city of Schoharie resulted in 20 fatalities. None of the 17 passengers who were killed were wearing lap or shoulder belts, and both the side- and rear-facing bench seats were not strong enough to withstand the impact of the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board, after investigating the crash, has advised the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to mandate the use of lap and shoulder belts in limousines. NHTSA, for its part, has stated that it will review the results of the NTSB’s crash investigation before coming to a decision.
The governor of New York himself has pushed for a law requiring seat belts for all vehicle passengers. After three years, though, the state legislature has not granted approval. Regarding the October crash, it turned out the limousine failed an inspection, and the driver didn’t possess the proper license to drive it.
Seat belts can save lives and lessen the severity of any injuries that are incurred. Those who are injured in motor vehicle crashes and file personal injury claims should know that seat belt use is an important factor. Failing to comply with seat belt laws can lower one’s chances of obtaining a settlement, so victims may want a lawyer to represent them at the negotiation table. A successful claim may cover things like medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.