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Local limo company weighs in on safety ahead of prom, wedding season

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — As prom and wedding season are right around the corner, New York State continues to monitor limousine safety. This comes after the fatal Schoharie crash in October that killed 20 people in Oct. 2018.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed nearly a dozen reforms in 2019 executive budget that aim to protect passengers and hold limousine companies responsible. Some included an outright ban on the registration of re-manufactured limousines, prohibiting their operation in New York State.

Those reforms were taken out of the state budget proposal in February. However, local driving businesses say since the crash, the industry has seen a hit in business.

“Thousands of limousine orders for new and limousines were canceled,” said Robert Palencar, the owner of Uptown Limousine Service in Binghamton.

He says limousines must be inspected by the Department of Transportation every six months and the process is intense.

“They check absolutely every safety feature that they have,” he said.

Palencar went on to say, especially on prom nights, their limos get stopped while on the roads to get checked.

“Most every prom that a limousine does gets stopped and inspected by DOT and state troopers,” he said. “They push it, poke it, prod it with tools and make you do all kinds of things and check credentials, IDs, medical cards, they do it all.”

This year, some school districts are taking safety measures to a new level. In New Jersey, the Lakeland Regional High School District went as far as banning seniors from hiring limousines or party buses to take to prom. Instead, the school is hiring coach buses to transport students. That district said the move was in light of student safety.

12 News reached out to Broome-Tioga BOCES which says its schools have not had any sort of discussions regarding restricting transportation.

As for Gov. Cuomo, he is still seeking several other changes to enhance regulations of limos including prohibiting any stretch limos that violate federal safety standards.

Jackie Prager

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