Members of New York’s limousine safety task force said the 2018 Schoharie crash of an illegal stretch limousine might have been prevented had the operator followed laws already on the books at the time, potentially saving the 20 lives lost in the fatal crash.
The task force, which held its first meeting last week, was designed to strengthen the state’s oversight of the limousine industry, according to Albany Times-Union. The board plans to hold a public hearing, then provide recommendations to the governor and state Legislature on how to improve limousine safety.
The Hussain family that owned the limo, a 2001 Ford Excursion stretched to 34 feet by a limo coach builder in Missouri, purposefully mislead the DMV on registration documents in order to bypass DOT inspection. Just weeks before the crash in 2018, the DOT asked the DMV to suspend the limo’s registration, only to reinstate it after Nauman Hussain paid a $500 fine.
State police confiscated the license plates of 59 SUV-style stretch limos in the wake of the crash, which was the worst highway transportation disaster in the U.S. for more than a decade.
The limo had been rented on October 8, 2018 by Axel Steenburg of Amsterdam to celebrate his wife’s 30th birthday. Steenburg was unaware of the DOT’s order for the limo not to be used to drive passengers.
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