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NTSB: limos should require lap and shoulder belts for all

If they intend to take a limousine somewhere in West Virginia, people should know what the current safety standards are like for these vehicles. Many limousines are modified to the point that they can be considered mid-sized trucks. As a result, they are exempt from the seating and seat belt standards that apply to traditional vehicles.

The National Transportation Safety Board believes that this is not an ideal situation, especially in the light of an October 2018 limousine crash that left 20 people dead, including the driver and 17 passengers. In its investigation of the crash, the NTSB found that none of the passengers were wearing lap or shoulder belts. The limousine, a 2001 Ford Excursion, had side- and rear-facing bench seats that could not withstand the impact of the crash.

The crash occurred at a highway intersection; the driver, who was not licensed to operate a limousine, ran a stop sign and collided with a parked car and two pedestrians. The limousine had also failed a vehicle inspection done prior to the incident.

The New York State Department of Transportation concurs that this incident reaffirms the need for all limousine occupants to wear lap and shoulder belts. The NTSB has made its recommendation for just such a mandate to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In a traffic accident like this, anyone who survived may be able to sue the limousine company for economic and non-economic damages like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and emotional trauma. Since there is no seat belt law in place at the moment, victims cannot be accused of negligence if they did not wear such restraints. There are other factors that might complicate the filing process, so victims may want a lawyer by their side. The lawyer may handle all negotiations.

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