Twenty people were killed in a limousine crash in upstate New York earlier this week, and now there are questions about the safety of the vehicle.
Limos and party buses take people anywhere from proms to weddings to wine tastings.
To keep you safe, limo companies must meet dozens of regulations before the vehicles can leave the parking lot.
The California Highway Patrol says motor specialists are in charge of inspecting limos and buses each year. They look at maintenance history as well as driver records.
The CHP’s Motor Carrier Safety Unit Manager says they can also conduct a random inspection of a company’s fleet.
“They are going to be looking first at the vehicles to make sure they are mechanically sound,” said Don Stafford, Motor Carrier Safety Unit Manager. “There can be any number of mechanical violations. They are machines, they wear out and break down.”
Vehicles are checked every year. If one doesn’t pass inspection, the CHP will mark it out of service and the company has a certain number of days to fix it and get it re-inspected.
Drivers also have to pass a series of tests including random drug and alcohol exams.
“We’re looking at any records that could disqualify these drivers from being on the road or behind the wheel,” said Officer Danny Maher, CHP spokesperson. “Things like any kind of violations they might of had and checking for alcohol and drug use. ”
Another safety aspect is seatbelts. Seatbelts are required in limos that seat up to 10 people, including the driver.
However, according to the CHP, vehicles that seat more than 10 people are referred to as buses and as of right now, do not require seat belts.
Some limo companies say unregistered companies make the roads dangerous because they don’t comply with state laws.
The CHP is cracking down on these companies.
“These people are hard to find. We are planning processes on doing some strike force activity in the next couple of years to identify them,” Stafford added.
The CHP is asking the public to do research of their own before renting a driving service. To check if a limo or driving company is legitimate, you can look up the company’s name on the California Public Utility Commissions website.
If the company is listed, you can sit down, buckle up and enjoy the ride, but if it’s not there, you might want to reconsider.