AUSTIN, Texas. A limo accident in upstate New York has devastated a small town and has left many people wondering whether limos are safe. The accident took place when a limo driver didn’t stop at a stop sign. The driver plowed through a dangerous T-intersection, crashing into a parked vehicle, hitting two pedestrians, and ultimately crashing into a ravine. All 18 people in the limo died, and the two pedestrians were also killed. Initial reports indicate that the limo company may have failed to take safety into account.
The New York Times reports that the limo owner’s son has been taken into custody on the charge of criminally negligent homicide. The company reportedly had prior safety violations. Reports indicate that the limo involved in the accident had failed its inspections and yet had still been allowed on the road by the company. The limo driver’s wife reports that her husband had expressed concerns about the safety of the vehicle and yet he had been assured that the vehicle was safe. Reports also indicate that the limo driver did not have the appropriate commercial driver’s license required to be transporting passengers.
The company is facing criticism and possible criminal charges because it hired a driver who should not have been operating a limo and because the vehicle may not have been fit for the road.
When truck or commercial vehicle accidents happen, a range of stakeholders might be at fault for the crash. While investigators might initially look to the driver, investigators also need to consider the role the company might have played in the accident. Companies have a responsibility to maintain vehicles fit for the road and to hire drivers who have proper licensure. Failure to do this can result in both civil and criminal negligence.
Civil liability refers to a company’s responsibility to pay for victims’ damages, medical bills, and losses. Criminal liability involves criminal wrongdoing that can result in jail time. Companies can be criminally liable, and liable to pay damages, though companies can also be found not criminally liable, but may still be found liable to pay civil damages, in some cases.
The accident has highlighted risks that some stretch limos pose. Many stretch limos on the road are modified passenger vehicles. When these vehicles are modified, they may not have the same safety features one would expect in a similar vehicle. For example, modified stretch limos might not have side passenger airbags and they may not have rollover safety features. Passengers may also not always wear their seat belts, which can lead to greater injuries in the event of an accident.
As more details of the limo’s inspection failure come to light, it appears that the limo had been cited for braking problems prior to the accident. Investigators are still determining whether vehicle problems or driver error resulted in the crash.
According to NPR, investigators have found enough red flags the company knew about that should have resulted in the limo being pulled from the road. The limo in the accident had been ordered out of service after inspections, yet the vehicle remained in service.
This tragic accident highlights the important role that transportation companies play in public safety. We rely on companies following the law to ensure safe roads and safe services in our communities. The Robson Law Firm are personal injury lawyers in Austin, Texas whose thoughts are with the families whose lives have been shattered by this accident. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car or truck accident, you may have important rights under the law. Visit our firm at https://robsonlawfirm.com/ to learn more about how we may be able to help you seek justice.
Robson Law Firm
1114 Lost Creek Boulevard
Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 345-8200