Deadly New York Limousine Crash Prompts Oversight Questions

The deadliest transportation accident in recent years has some asking whether more can be done to regulate modified vehicles, including limos.
October 12, 2018, 12pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Reinhard Tiburzy

A Saturday limousine crash ended up killing all 18 of the vehicle's occupants, as well as two pedestrians, in what officials have called the deadliest transportation accident in the U.S. since 2009. Patrick Jarenwattananon discusses how modified and refurbished vehicles often occupy a regulatory black hole.

"A stretch SUV limousine like the one involved in the accident is often created by modifying an existing vehicle — essentially sawing it in half, then lengthening the body and refurbishing the interior [...] The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sets standards for newly manufactured vehicles, but limos that are modified after they're off the assembly line can skirt NHTSA oversight."

But even if this accident leads to some rule changes in New York, limos operating in other states won't necessarily be affected. "Another complicating factor is that U.S. transportation regulation is overseen by a patchwork of federal and state agencies, and regulations can vary greatly among states."

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Published on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 in NPR
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