20 Killed in Limo Crash in Upstate New York

A horrible tragedy occurred in Upstate New York in October. 20 people were killed and others injured when a limousine failed to stop at an intersection and lost control. 18 occupants of the limo were killed along with two pedestrians.

The subsequent investigation shed light on the limousine company, driver and the multitude of laws that were broken leading up to the accident.

The vehicle was originally a Ford SUV but a third party modified it. The motor vehicle was nearly two decades old and had failed an inspection just a month ago, when the state declared its brakes and tires unsafe.

The driver had a long and troubled driving history. In 2015, he received a $125 ticket for driving while talking on a cellphone. The year before, he received a ticket for opening a door into traffic and over the previous three years, he racked up three other tickets, according to the Post-Star newspaper.

Even more troubling was that the driver was not  properly licensed to drive the stretch limo. An untrained driver simply cannot safely operate such an unwieldy, specialized vehicle. The vehicle was more like a truck than a car: difficult to stop and turn.

Lastly, New York State does not require adult passengers in the back of limos to wear seat belts.  No safety reason exists for this.

New York State law should be far more clear and consistently enforced: Perhaps punishing a person or company that drives a vehicle without the proper license should have that vehicle seized.

Perhaps a person who injures or kills while driving without a proper license or inspection should face felony assault or homicide charges.

The laws must be changed to protect innocent passengers and citizens.