State lawmakers plan to host a public hearing addressing limousine safety after new regulations were included in the approved state budget, measures the families involved in the 2015 crash in Cutchogue say fall short of expectations.
While the new regulations include a ban on U-turns for larger vehicles, a new $85 state inspection fee, tougher penalties for illegal limo operators and authority for police to remove license plates from stretch limousines that fail inspections, the families are disappointed drivers will not be required to have a commercial driver’s license and that adults will not be required to wear seat belts in limousines.
“We are going to continue to push for the inclusion of those two things,” said Nancy DiMonte, whose daughter Joelle survived the Route 48 crash in 2015. “That is vital.”
Ms. DiMonte added that overall the eight families effected by the crash, which claimed the lives of four young women, are grateful that some of what they hoped would be included in the budget was approved, including the ban on U-turns.
“That’s huge,” Ms. DiMonte said. “Our daughters were the victims of a U-turn being made.
“There is now more accountability on the road and for that [we] are pleased,” she said. “We’ve begun the process of making ourselves known [in Albany] and
I feel confident we’ll find someone who will sponsor [the additional measures].”
Ms. DiMonte said she expects that the hearing, proposed by Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo), chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation, will be held in early May.
The regulations included in the budget came at the urging of the families of the Cutchogue victims. Following the death of 20 individuals in a limo crash in Schoharie, N.Y. last year, Ms. DiMonte arranged for the Long Island families to meet with officials in Gov. Andrew Cumomo’s office. The governor then included the regulations in his proposed 2019-20 executive budget.
State lawmakers, however, stripped the final budget of the CDL and seat belt requirements.
“Our understanding is that some lawmakers wanted more discussion and believed some [of the regulations] should not be done in the budget and instead go to legislative hearings,” Ms. DiMonte said. “We want to see amendments brought up before June, that’s the heavy season for limousine traffic.”