AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — After losing their loved ones in the Schoharie limo crash, family members made a vow to change limousine laws, now making them safer for everyone.
“It’s so important,” said Jill Richardson-Perez. “We made a promise. And kept that promise with the help of senators and congressmen. We did it! And I’m so pleased.”
Friday, family members joined Congressman Paul Tonko in Amsterdam to announce the advancement of limo safety legislation, which includes funding for impoundment to get unsafe limos off the road. This is something Janet Steenburg, who lost her two sons, Richard and Axel as well as her daughter-in-law Amy, said could have saved the lives of those involved in the Schoharie crash.
“The horn didn’t work in that vehicle,” explained Steenburg. “Something so simple as a horn could have saved the two men in the parking lot. If that guy would have been able to physically blow the horn, those two people would have been alive. There would have been 18 instead of 20. The windows didn’t even go down. That thing was a rolling death trap, and if the impoundment laws had been in effect then, it would have been pulled.”
Seatbelt standards, safety research, annual inspections, and a mandate for limo operators to share their inspection history with customers have also been included in the legislation. Kevin Cushing, who lost his son Patrick, said their patience paid off.
“This advocacy that everyone in this room and others did over those three years helped us get through that pain and grief because we were aimed at getting something done,” stated Cushing. “And now that we have, I can’t really say what our next steps will be, but if it’s continued advocacy, then it’s continued advocacy.”
“We might not never know who was saved,” stated Steenburg. “But we know we saved somebody with this law. And whether it’s your child or somebody else’s, somebody is going to saved because of it.”
President Joe Biden is expected to sign the legislation into law on Monday as a part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.