Schoharie limo crash victims remembered on 1-year anniversary
A memorial was held this weekend for the 20 lives that were lost one year ago after a limousine - that state officials say should have never been on the road - crashed.
A group of friends were celebrating in upstate Schoharie when their stretch SUV blew a stop sign, killing the 17 passengers, the driver and two pedestrians.
In the year since the crash, the New York Senate passed a package of nine bills of limousine regulations, including required drug and alcohol testing and allowing the Department of Transportation to take defective limos off the road.
Only one has since passed the Assembly - to increase insurance limits for for-hire vehicles - but that law has yet to make it to Gov. Cuomo's desk.
On the federal level, Sen. Chuck Schumer is taking aim at the industry with Reps. Antonio Delgado and Paul Tonko. The SAFE Limos Act of 2019 is a series of bills, including new seat safety standards, requiring limos to meet federal and commercial safety regulations and pushes for lap-shoulder belts. Just this week, the National Transportation Safety Board announced the same limo safety recommendations.
Lap belts already come standard in limousines, but one business owner says passengers barely wear them.
"We put stickers in the back of the car requiring them to do it. Chauffeurs tell them to do it but when you're in a limo, people don't wear them and we don't see it being an effective tool," says John Khader, owner of Top Class Limousines.
Khader, who has been in the limousine business for over 30 years, says cameras and GPS should be required, and putting unsafe limos on the road should be a criminal offense.