New York State Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Wheatley Heights) has announced that the FY2019-20 Enacted Budget includes key components of limousine safety legislation that she previously introduced. Limousine regulations have been a subject of particular interest in Albany in the wake of a tragic accident that claimed 20 lives in Schoharie, New York last fall.
Jean-Pierre is the prime sponsor of A.5097, a bill she first introduced in 2017 following a grand jury report issued after a fatal limousine crash that occurred on Long Islands North Fork in July of 2015, when the lives of four young women were taken after the driver of a stretch limousine made a U-turn on a double lane road in Cutchogue in which an oncoming driver collided with the vehicle. The FY2019-20 Enacted Budget includes two main provisions from this bill, including an increase in the minimum liability insurance requirements for limousines licensed and registered to operate in New York, as well as a law prohibiting modified or stretch limousines with seating capacities of ten or more from making U-turns on any roadway in New York State.
I would like to thank Governor Cuomo, Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie for including these critical measures in this years budget bill, said Jean-Pierre. We couldnt afford to wait for another horrific tragedy for New York to finally enhance protections for those traveling in limousines. These provisions include sensible policies that will hold limousine companies more accountable to their passengers and protect public safety.
Specifically, the budget language amends the States Vehicle and Traffic Law to increase the minimum liability insurance requirement to $1.5 million for bodily injury or death resulting from an accident involving a vehicle capable of holding eight or more passengers, a measure that would ensure victims of accidents involving limousines are adequately compensated for medical bills, lost wages and other damages, Jean-Pierre noted.