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Accident Report Detail

 
​Safety Recommendation Report: Providing Occupant Protection for Limousine Passengers

Executive Summary

​Ongoing investigation

The NTSB is investigating a collision involving a 2001 Ford Excursion stretch limousine, a 2015 Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle (SUV), and two pedestrians that occurred in Schoharie, New York, on October 6, 2018. In the course of our investigation, we have identified safety issues related to occupant protection, including the integrity of limousine seat and seat belt systems and the accessibility and use of seat belts by limousine passengers. Consequently, the NTSB is issuing safety recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), and the National Limousine Association. The NTSB is also reiterating one recommendation to the state of New York. The NTSB is providing the following information in support of the recommendations. (The NTSB will issue a final accident report at the completion of the Schoharie investigation.)


Probable Cause

​Ongoing investigation

Findings

  1. The crash was not survivable for the limousine driver.
  2. Because lap/shoulder belts provide a greater level of occupant protection than lap belts, lap/shoulder belts should be installed as standard equipment for all passenger seating positions in limousines.
  3. The non-original equipment manufacturer seats and lap belt systems in the modified portion of the passenger compartment, including their structural anchorage points, were not properly designed for occupant crash protection.
  4. If seat belts on limousines are not readily assessible to the passengers, they are unlikely to be worn.
  5. Extending New York’s mandatory seat belt use laws with primary enforcement to all vehicles, including for all limousine passengers in all seating positions, would decrease fatalities.

Recommendations

New Recommendations

To the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Require lap/shoulder belts for each passenger seating position on all new vehicles modified to be used as limousines. (H-19-14)

Require that seating systems installed in new vehicles modified to be used as limousines meet minimum performance standards to ensure their integrity during a crash. (H-19-15)

To the New York State Department of Transportation:

As an addition to your regular state inspection process, ensure that seat belts are functional and accessible in all limousines in the state equipped with passenger seat belts. (H-19-16)

To the National Limousine Association:

Educate member limousine operators on the life-saving benefits of proper seat belt use, and recommend that they develop methods to (1) ensure that seat belts are functional and accessible to the passengers and (2) encourage passengers to use them. (H-19-17)

 

Reiterated Recommendation

The NTSB reiterates Safety Recommendation H-15-42 to the state of New York:

Enact legislation that provides for primary enforcement of a mandatory seat belt use law for all vehicle seating positions equipped with a passenger restraint system. (H-15-42)


Accident Location: Schoharie , NY USA  
Accident Date: 10/6/2018
Accident ID: HWY19MH001

Date Adopted: 9/13/2019
NTSB Number: HSR1902
NTIS Number: