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NLA Responds to Congressional Inquiries about Stretch Limo Legislation

Friday, November 8, 2019   (2 Comments)
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November 8, 2019

 

NLA Responds to Congressional Inquiries about Stretch Limo Legislation

 

The NLA was recently asked for comments by Senator Schumer and a number of House members who have introduced legislation in response to the New York stretch limo crash.  There are three separate bills that have been introduced and the summary provisions are at the end of this post.  NLA's views are listed immediately below and are an attempt to balance safety and the fact that coachbuilders will need time to get up to speed and meet any new requirements enacted by Congress.

 

NLA views on stretch limousine safety legislation:

 

In general, the NLA supports the limousine safety bills recently introduced by Sen. Schumer, Rep. Tonko, and Rep. Delgado. As industry leaders, we applaud efforts to improve safety for both our drivers and passengers. However, there are a few items that we believe are impractical and unnecessary. We’d love to work with the bill authors to address our concerns and help the bills move forward.

 

Retroactivity – Enacting new laws rendering existing vehicles obsolete will cause concern in the industry and could cause significant financial harm to operators who bought compliant vehicles and continue to operate them safely. We would be able to support the new safety requirements that include a grandfather clause for older vehicles and a phase-in period for new vehicle standards. Additional CDL Requirements – H.R. 4697 would mandate CDLs for 9 passenger vehicles vs current law which requires CDLs for 16 passenger vehicles.  NLA could support requirements for defensive driver training or a similar safe driving program but not CDLs for small passenger vehicles. CDL drivers are already extremely difficult to hire and there is not sufficient crash data to necessitate requiring CDLs for normal passenger vehicles.

 

Placarding – S.2606 and H.R.4708 require the most recent safety inspection results to be displayed in the passenger compartment. We are happy to make this information available, but it should be in a more discreet location than the passenger compartment – such as the door jamb, windshield, etc.

 

Event Data Recorder Requirement – S.2606 and H.R.4708 require NHTSA to issue a rule requiring event data recorders in stretch limousines. This requirement is costly, unnecessary and it will would not have prevented any accident that has ever occurred in a chauffeured vehicle.

 

For your reference, the draft legislative provisions are listed below:

 

  • Requires seatbelts to be installed in limousines with a gross vehicle weight greater than 8,500 pounds at each seating position
  • Requires stretch limos to meet standards for seats, attachment assemblies and installation to minimize the possibility of failure due to a crash
  • Requires DOT to issue a rule requiring a stretch limousine alterer to comply with all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards
  • Bans new stretch limousines produced without a DOT-approved modifier plan, including:
    • Design, quality control, manufacturing and training practices to ensure compliance with federal safety standards
    • Customer support guidelines, including instructions to wear seatbelts and requirements that passengers are notified of the date and results of most recent inspections
    • Any other safety elements DOT deems necessary
    • Requires vehicle modifier plans to be updated every 4 years
  • Requires DOT to issue safety standards for side impact, roof crush, and air bag systems for stretch limousines
  • Requires DOT to issue stretch limousine evacuation standards
  • Bans operation of stretch limousines unless the following are disclosed in the vehicle and on the operator’s website:
    • The date and results of the most recent inspection
    • Any corrective action taken to ensure the stretch limousine passed inspection
  • Defines failure to comply as an unfair or deceptive practice according to the FTC
  • Requires NHTSA to issue a rule requiring event data recorders in stretch limousines
  • Authorizes a $5,000,000 grant program for states enforcing impoundment and immobilization of stretch limousines that fail commercial motor vehicle safety inspections

  • Requires a CDL for vehicles that transport 9 or more passengers, including the driver

Comments...

National Limousine Association says...
Posted Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Thank you for sharing your comments. We will be sure to keep the membership apprised of any further comments or views made by the NLA on legislative issues.
Encore Limousine and Sedan, Inc. says...
Posted Saturday, November 16, 2019
The last bullet about CDL Driver for 9 passenger or more needs to be removed! There is no driver driving test to qualify on. Question would be what type of vehicle would qualify for the driving test? Mini Van, Limousine, etc.? All 14 passenger Sprinter vans would require CDL drivers, the impact to our industry would be HUGE. There are not enough quality drivers now let alone CDL drivers. What about the general public with the 15 passenger vans, would they now have to have a CDL license to rent? This is why the current regulations are for 16+ passengers for a required CDL, it was to exempt these vehicles. Data Recorders: Just limousines? What about buses? There are more of them on the roads than limousines. Limousines are a dying breed, the industry is moving to more car/SUV service and buses. Overall, there are enough laws on the books for the protecting the general public, enforcement and operator compliance was the issue in the upstate New York SUV limousine accident.

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