A horrific limo accident in Schoharie, NY last October has been labeled the most deadly transportation accident since 2009. The vehicle’s 17 passengers, driver, and two pedestrians were killed when the stretch limousine lost control and crashed in a parking lot. Although it is not the only high-profile limo accident that has occurred in recent years, the high number of fatalities has many people questioning the safety of stretch limos.
The passengers, who were celebrating a birthday, intended to rent a party bus but were given a stretch limo instead. Stretch limos have some inherent safety risks that are different from other vehicles because of how they are made. They are not manufactured from scratch, but rather built from smaller cars or sport utility vehicles that are cut in half and extended. The addition of plates on the roof and floor and seating along the sides renders some of the standard safety features, including airbags and rollover pillars, ineffective. The unconventional seating arrangement in the rear also makes passengers more vulnerable in the event of an accident, particularly because many do not wear seatbelts.
Multiple Factors May Have Contributed to Accident
While other vehicles must meet rigorous standards from construction onward, modified vehicles such as stretch limos are not as closely regulated. They must undergo periodic inspections in order to be cleared for service, however; the limo in the Schoharie accident had failed its most recent inspection and was not supposed to be on the road. Additionally, the driver did not have the proper license to be operating the vehicle.
Speed may have also played a role in the accident. Witnesses indicated that the limo was traveling at around 60 miles per hour at the time of the crash, which occurred after the vehicle came down a steep hill. There is a tight curve at the bottom of the hill that many drivers fail to navigate properly, and the weight of the limo could have propelled the vehicle into the parking lot. It is dangerous for a limo to travel at high speeds under any circumstances, as the added weight from the extended body and passengers makes it difficult to stop when hazards arise.
This is not the first time that the safety of stretch limos has been called into question in the last few years. In 2015, a pickup truck crashed into a limo as it was trying to make a U-turn, killing four women. Police reports from the scene raised suspicions that the limo driver had been drinking. Five women were killed in a limo fire in 2013; surviving passengers reported that they tried to alert the driver to the fire, but he was arguing with his wife over the phone and did not respond in time.
Philadelphia Accident Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Obtain Compensation for Victims of Limo Accidents
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident involving a limo, call the Philadelphia accident lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Our lawyers will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is at fault for your injuries and hold them accountable. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we help limo accident victims and their families throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Call us today at 888-999-1962 or contact us online for a free consultation with a Philadelphia accident lawyer.