After the tragic limousine accident on October 7th, resulting in the death of 20 people in upstate New York, the safety of stretch limos have come to the forefront. This is especially so, following the limousine accident 3 years prior where 4 women, including a bride-to-be, died. So what is it about stretch limousines that render them a potential safety hazard?
Here are some safety concerns pertaining to stretch limousines:
- Many stretch limousines are not originally manufactured as stretch limousines– they are instead cars that have been modified to become limousines. The front and rear of the original car is first removed. The body of the car is then extended. The front and rear is then added to the extended body. This modification is not done through the manufacturer but rather by a third party company that has acquired the car sometime down the line. The process that the original car had to go through before being released for purchase (crash experiments, tests, etc) no longer ensure the safety of the limousine since the dimensions of the original car has drastically changed. The stretch limousine that crashed, killing 20 people on October 7th, was a 2001 Ford Excursion meant to sit 9 people. Nearly 20 years later, it seated 18.
- When modified, many safety features are removed/no longer apply- When ‘stretching’ a car, features such as side roller over pillars and even airbags are removed, or are no longer able to offer protection.
- There are not enough seat belts for each passenger- in addition, because of the culture of drinking and having ‘fun’ in the limousine, people tend to not want to put on seat belts. Seat belts are often seen as ‘too restrictive’ in such a setting. This creates a huge hazard should an accident occur