The Dangers of Riding in a Stretch Limousine Exposed in Horrific Crash

Over the weekend, 20 people died when one such limo crashed in New York.

People mourn at the site of the fatal limousine crash on October 8, 2018 in Schoharie, New York. 20 people died in the crash. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
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On Saturday, 17 people were going to a birthday celebration at the Ommegang brewery in Cooperstown, New York. The group had booked a party bus for the trip, but ended up in a stretch limousine instead.  They never reached their destination.

All 17 passengers, along with the driver and two pedestrians, died in a crash that day in Schoharie, N.Y., about 40 miles west of Albany.

The cause of the crash is still being investigated, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the limo had failed inspection last month and was deemed unfit for the road. Ordinary cars are strictly regulated by the federal government and most meet safety standards of the insurance industry from the construction phase, reports The New York Times. But not stretch limos.

Many stretch limousines are former cars or sport utility vehicles that have been modified after they leave the factory.

The Times writes that people who usually ride in hired vehicles are often less careful about seatbelts than those who travel in private cars. Unbelted passengers put themselves at risk but can also become a flying hazard to the belted passengers. The modifications to a stretch limo also means that some of the protections in normal cars that deflect the forces of a crash away from passengers, are eliminated. Side rollover pillars and airbags are removed or become useless. Because of the size of the vehicle, the also tend to be harder for a driver to drive.

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