ALBANY, N.Y (NEWS10) — Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board released several recommendations to the state and federal government after an investigation into the fatal Schoharie limousine crash. Following the report, Premiere Transportation told NEWS10 ABC how they assisted with the investigation.
Two years ago, the Schoharie limo crash involved a modified 2001 stretch Ford Excursion and claimed the lives of 20 people: 17 passengers, the driver of the limousine, and two bystanders.
That accident has affected and changed the limousine industry forever.
Premiere Transportation is a limo and transportation company in Albany. They were sent a letter from NTSB thanking them for their assistance in the investigation of the crash.
“We appreciate the time you spent discussing the current New York Regulations affecting the limousine and passenger carry industry and how they actually influence the legitimate carrier. The tour of your facility, scheduling, dispatching and oversight were indications of your safety culture. The use of your lift and facilities made it possible for the New York State Police inspections and our inspections. The interaction with your staff that you made available helped us to understand the unique inspection and maintenance of stretched limousines.
National Transportation Safety Board Members
“We helped the NTSB with their investigation of the accident,” said David Brown, President of Premiere Transportation.
Brown said NTSB came to his company over a year ago to use their facilities and work with their mechanics. As a company, Brown said they were willing to help out in any way they could to further the investigation.
Brown said it was important to get Prestige Limousine, the company that was involved in the accident, off the roads.
“They asked us for a favor if they could inspect the rest of Prestige’s fleet here. Now, we did not inspect the limo that got in the accident. We only inspected four of their vehicles. They were brought here, inspected, and to my knowledge, the vehicles were crushed,” he said.
From being in the business for over 30 years, Brown said he has never seen vehicles in such bad condition.
“Prestige’s limousines were in very rough shape,” he said.
He said, before the Schoharie crash, he feels the limousine business flew under the radar when it came to following safety measures. Throughout the investigation, Brown said Premiere played a role informing NTSB about the industry.
“They were pretty much learning from us about the rules, regulations, and how the vehicles were stretched. We also informed them about manufacturing of the vehicles,” he explained.
Brown said, over the next couple of years, he believes stretch limousines will not be as popular. They are suggesting bigger parties to take party buses or vans. Brown said both vehicles hold more passengers and have heavier breaks.
The NTSB wants Governor Andrew Cuomo to implement recommendations from 2014 that deal with vehicle repair certification requirements and progressive enforcement actions. They want stretch limos to be defined as a passenger vehicle with a capacity of 10 or more people as a bus. The agency also wants the NY Department of Motor Vehicles to review it’s policies and protocols on stretch limo inspections.