EDITORIAL: Congress must pass federal limo legislation

National standards needed to prevent next tragedy
The memorial to the crash victims
The memorial to the crash victims

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

They died in New York.

But the crash could have happened anywhere.

It could have happened at an out-of-state wedding for an old college friend.

Or a bachelor party for an Army buddy. Or at your nephew’s prom. Or your granddaughter’s Sweet 16 party.

The limousine crash that killed 20 people in Schoharie back in October 2018 could have happened anywhere, to anyone.

Just because the next fatal crash might happen in another state doesn’t necessarily mean you or your family will escape the tragedy.

While it was vitally important that New York pass its own limousine safety legislation, as it did earlier this year, we can’t be satisfied with that.

If we’re serious about ensuring the safety of anyone who climbs into a limo, be it a family member or a stranger, the crackdown on dangerous limousines and on the drivers we entrust to get passengers safely to their destination has to be a nationwide effort.

Despite efforts from our congressional delegation that began in October on the one-year anniversary of the Schoharie crash, federal lawmakers are still working on a bill that would apply across the country.

They need to push this over the finish line.

The package of three bills, known collectively as the Limousine Safety Action Plan, sets standards for vehicle safety, requires passengers to wear seat belts, improves upon crash safety and inspection standards, encourages states to identify and take unsafe vehicles out of service, and closes a loophole that allowed vehicles carrying between 10 and 17 passengers to avoid more rigorous standards that applies to larger commercial vehicles.

The legislation, which is making its way through the House of Representatives, is long-overdue, common-sense safety legislation that could make a difference in saving precious lives.

It doesn’t overburden the limousine industry with overly oppressive and expensive regulations. And it will provide peace of mind for passengers and their loved ones who rent limousines to celebrate special events.

With all the partisan gridlock in Washington, it’s easy to see how one political party could find a reason to hold up this legislation or water it down so that it doesn’t contain the necessary protections.

That can’t be allowed to happen here.

Limousine crashes don’t respect political boundaries. They kill indiscriminately.

Congress needs to pass this legislation now, before the next tragedy hits home.

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