Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Harding Mazzotti.
Interviewer: Limousine Safety is front and center once again as the New York State Senate recently passed a series of measures intended to make its safer to ride in a limo. This is in response, of course, of the 2018 Schoharie limo crash that killed 20 people. So right now we have managing partner, Paul Harding from Harding Mazzotti to help break it all down for us. So talk a little bit about this legislation and what it would do.
Paul: Well, you know, surprise to everyone, there really hadn’t been a lot of specifics as it pertained to limo. They had kind of fallen through the crack. So this would be something, for an example, you couldn’t operate a limo more than 10 years or 350,000 miles. Hard stop date, right? That’s something new. Seat belts, there was no number of seat belts related to the amount of passengers. It sounds outrageous, but it didn’t exist. And if you can imagine there’s gonna be something like we get on an airline, like to draw your attention, these are the safety features of this limo, and they sort of gonna have to go through this spiel before the journey even begins.
Interviewer: Yeah. It’s kind of hard to believe that a lot of this stuff wasn’t already in place. Why do you think it was so important to put some of these legislative measures into effect after this crash?
Paul: You know, everyone turned around and said, huh, you know, we all recognized when we were in a limo that it was kind of a free for all. You couldn’t find the seatbelt even if you wanted to. And it really wasn’t fashionable, right? To wear a seatbelt. You didn’t imagine that you were in the danger that was exemplified by this Schoharie crash. So just an opportunity, it was a wake up call nationally. We are living it right now in our area, but the implication of this goes far beyond.
Interviewer: Yeah. So what are the possible next steps for all of this?
Paul: Well, it passes the Senate. So in our legislative process, we’ve got the assembly next, and if it gets passed or maybe changed a little bit, and then the governor’s has to support that with his signature. And so if we get that, well, that’s what we’re gonna have now. But we’ve got this big trial coming up, as you alluded to, it’s Schoharie later this year. I think that’s gonna also shape the way that these criminal and civil cases work depending on the outcome of that.
Interviewer: It’s been five years since this crash happened.
Paul: It is unimaginable. Yeah. It’s still going on.
Interviewer: So kind of interesting to see how long it takes to get these things in motion.
Paul: Right. Wake up call doesn’t mean quick action. Yeah.
Interviewer: Yeah. All right, Paul, thank you so much.
Paul: You’re welcome. Thank you.
Interviewer: Well, for more info covered in our weekly, “What are Your Rights” segments, or to send us a story idea, just head to our website, cbs6albany.com.