SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara announced that legislation he co-sponsored, requiring all stretch limousines to have working seat belts, will go into effect on Jan. 1. Santabarbara helped craft legislation to increase safety standards in the transportation industry following a deadly limousine crash in Schoharie County that claimed the lives of 20 people in 2018.

“Two years have passed since the terrible tragedy in Schoharie that took the lives of 20 of our friends, family members and loved ones,” said Santabarbara. “We’ll never forget the lives lost on that terrible day, and it’s critical that we step up and enforce these new safety measures to ensure no other community has to endure such devastating heartbreak. This law will increase the safety of limousines and help keep New Yorkers safe.”

The law requires motor vehicles converted into stretch limousines on or after Jan. 1, 2021 to have at least two seat belts for the front seat and at least one seat belt in the rear for each passenger the vehicle was designed to hold, as well as requiring all stretch limousines to be retrofitted to include seatbelts by Jan. 1, 2023.

In addition, this legislation requires visible postings to encourage the use of seat belts. Requiring seat belts will undoubtedly increase safety in New York’s transportation industry, although further action must be taken on the federal level to enact nationwide safety standards, Santabarbara noted.