A pre-wedding celebration turned into tragedy when a drunk driver broadsided a limousine two weekends ago. Four women were killed and four women and the truck driver were seriously injured in the horrific accident.
Limousines Are Stripped of Safety Features
Limos are the embodiment of success and glamour but they have serious safety flaws. A stretch limo is created by cutting a car in half and then adding side, floor and roof panels between the two ends. In the process, the manufacturer removes life-saving safety features, such as seat belts and airbags, meaning limo passengers have little protection if the vehicle is involved in an accident. And the fact that most (if not all) passengers aren’t seat belted just adds to the danger.
Auto manufacturers are not permitted to sell vehicles that don’t meet rigorous safety standards, but limo companies are somehow exempt under federal laws.
Safety Loophole Applies to Limos, Buses and Vans
The problem is not confined to limousines. In 2013, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulation specifically exempted certain motor coaches from seat belt and airbag requirements.
Exempt vehicles include transit buses, school buses, prison buses and perimeter-seating buses. Buses with perimeter seating include limousines, party buses and airport shuttle vans.
And yet the risks of sustaining serious injuries during a limousine, party bus or passenger van accident are particularly high. The vehicles themselves are difficult for the driver to maneuver, people are encouraged to stand and move around inside the cabin, and floating items — such as glassware or luggage — can contribute to the severity of injuries during an accident.
Because many motor coach accidents involve a side collision, passengers who sit along the sides facing inward are basically hit head-on or from behind with nothing to keep them from being tossed violently around upon impact.
Motor coach manufacturers argue that adding safety features would cost too much. But the much higher cost of not adding these vital safety features is clear. These vehicles need to be held to the same standards as other automobiles.