Sweeping limo safety measures pass alongside $715 billion federal transportation bill

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Families and friends who lost loved ones in the 2018 Schoharie limo crash are still waiting for resolution as the criminal case drags on. Thursday afternoon, attorneys confirm the in-person court appearance in the criminal case against limo company owner Nauman Hussain that was originally planned for July 7 will now switch to virtual.

However, the crash and its aftermath now inspire national change. The $715 billion federal transportation and water infrastructure reform passed Thursday morning includes limo safety measures victims families advocated for with Congressman Paul Tonko.

“I just respect the fact that they were willing to work through their pain and their loss to be able to advise and share with us,” Tonko shares with NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

The SAFE Limos Act requires every limo operator in the nation to openly display inspection results, make sure their vehicles have enough seatbelts, and there will be federal standards for seating and converting vehicles into limos — to name a few of the measures. The additional Take Unsafe Limos Off the Road Act also encourages other states to crack down on unsafe limos in order to qualify for federal funding.

“The incentives in this measure will encourage states to impound those vehicles, to remove them from our nations highways. Many of these limos travel over state boundaries, so it’s important to have a national legislation,” Tonko explains.

Tonko says the transportation package passes just in time to set standards before big events like weddings, proms, and graduations pick up again at full, post-pandemic speeds.

“As people begin to gather again at various locations, we rightfully anticipate additional limousine travel,” he says.

He also adds what happened to the 20 victims of Schoharie’s crash should always be a teaching moment to hold limo operators accountable for their client’s safety.

“This occurrence has got to speak to us. It has got to advance reforms that will make certain that again, we are doing everything we can to learn from that tragedy,” Tonko says.

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