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When a Night Out Becomes a Death Trap: Dangers of Stretch Limousines


Nothing adds to the elegance or grandeur of a celebration like a ride in a limousine. People book these chauffeured rides for all kinds of occasions, from prom night to wedding day celebrations. Most of the time, the splendor of the occasion is enhanced by the extra touch of riding in a limo. But, as recent events demonstrate, that is not always the case.

New York Disaster

 A night of birthday revelry resulted in tragedy when a limousine carrying 17 passengers careened through a stop sign into a parked vehicle, killing all 17 party-goers, the driver of the limousine, and two pedestrians. The incident horrified families and friends, as transportation officials lamented the most deadly transportation incident in nearly ten years. While the accident underwent a thorough investigation, two things became clear: the vehicle had failed a recent safety inspection and should never have been allowed on the road, and the driver was not properly licensed to be driving the limo.

Safety Issues for any Limo Ride

 Beyond the specifics of this calamity, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about taking a spin in a limousine:

  • Lack of federal safety standards: Limousines used to be regular old cars or SUVs. After leaving the factory, they were literally cut in half, and had additional pieces added into the middle of the vehicle. The insides were then revamped, with additional seating added along the extended sides. This becomes problematic for a number of reasons:
    • Cages that are designed to deflect the clout of a crash in a passenger vehicle are modified , downgrading their effectiveness;
    • Side airbags and/or rollover pillars are often removed, or are only minimally useful;
    • Seatbelts are often missing, and even when present, are often not used.
  • Electronic stability controls (ESCs) are essentially useless in limousines: Because of the extensive modifications made to these vehicles after they exit the factory, ESCs can’t respond properly to the altered mass and length of the limo.
  • Brakes and tires may not be appropriate: Also related to the changes in the mass of the vehicle, brakes and tires may not be equipped to handle the increased size of a limo.
  • Unregistered Companies or Unlicensed Drivers: Obviously, navigating roadways with a stretch limousine requires more skill than operating a passenger vehicle. When companies cut corners related to registration, insurance, or licensing, it puts everyone at risk.

Following an Accident

 Unfortunately, limousines are involved in accidents that are oftentimes more serious or deadly than those involving passenger vehicles. If you or a loved one experiences severe injuries or death due to a limousine accident, the experienced legal team at the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton can help. Contact us in Daytona & Ormond Beach for a confidential consultation today.