Monday, October 28, 2013

Limo Safety Law Passes in California

Legislation approved by the California State Senate, requiring limousines operating in California to have emergency exits, has been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett of San Leandro drafted the bill after two limousine blazes erupted in the San Francisco Bay Area earlier this year.

Under SB 109, limousines carrying fewer than 10 passengers are now required to have two push-out windows and two rear doors, which must be situated on opposite sides of the vehicle. The bill also requires limousine operators to instruct passengers on the safety features of the vehicle before embarking on any trip, beginning in January 2016.

Senator Jerry Hill drafted another bill, SB 338, which would have expanded annual California Highway Patrol safety inspections to limousines below the current 10-passenger threshold. Under SB 338, these inspections would be performed at a cost of $75 to the limousine operator. The 1999 Lincoln Town Car stretch limo in the San Mateo Bridge fire was designed to carry seven passengers, and therefore was not required to be inspected in any way. However, Gov. Brown vetoed this second bill, saying the $75 fee was insufficient to cover the CHP’s inspection costs, and called for an otherwise-identical bill allowing for better funding.

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