Stretch Limousines: Sacrificing Safety for StyleOctober 31, 2018
Hiring a stretch limousine may seem like a great idea if you have a group of people heading out to party or a special event, particularly if there will be drinking involved. However, a stretch limousine may not be the safest choice because many of these vehicles do not meet the basic safety standards that regular cars must meet. In fact, there are several hidden dangers associated with stretch limousines that customers should be aware of before they make transportation arrangements with a limousine company or private driver.
To understand some of the safety concerns associated with these vehicles, it helps to know exactly what a stretch limousine is. Essentially, it is a regular car or SUV that has been cut in half, separating the front and rear of the vehicle. The body of the vehicle is extended, and additional seating is installed. According to an engineer with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), when a carefully designed vehicle that meets or exceeds the safety standards gets chopped up and reconfigured, oftentimes, it no longer meets those standards.
New Design Compromises Safety
Federal law states that vehicle interiors must be designed to deflect the force of impact away from the passengers. When cars and SUVs are taken apart and made longer, the side rollover pillars and airbags are often removed, or they become nonfunctional. In addition, when the vehicles are turned into stretch limos, the design elements that help protect the occupants in a front crash, side crash, or rollover are not implemented, which compromises the safety of the occupants. According to a former Suffolk County district attorney, without the appropriate regulations and safety standards in place, the average stretch limousine is one accident away from becoming a hearse.
In addition to the safety of the vehicle, passengers are less likely to wear their seatbelts when riding in a limousine, or other hired vehicle. As a result, passengers can be thrown from the vehicle if it hits another object, like a tree or car, at a high speed. According to the IIHS, over 38,000 people were fatally injured in car accidents last year. Half of those victims were unbelted.
In 2016, a Long Island grand jury said that stretch limousines were underregulated, based on a collision between a stretch limousine and a pickup truck that fatally injured four people in New York. However, safety officials are concerned that there will be little to no effort made toward enforcing stricter regulations because stretch limousines represent such a small percentage of road traffic. Highway safety specialists are more likely to focus on changes that can save more lives.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Victims of Stretch Limousine Accidents
If you have been injured in an accident involving a stretch limousine, contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will determine who is responsible for causing the accident and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.