Deadly Limo Accident Kills 20

Have you ever ridden in a limo? For fancy or formal events, like a high school prom, wedding, or a dinner at a lavish restaurant, a limousine—a large, partitioned vehicle driven by a chauffeur—can add the perfect dash of sophistication. Along with the air of luxury and suaveness that they provide, limos are also a safe option for people who plan to imbibe during a night out.

But over the weekend, a horrific limo accident in New York exposed a scary reality. While limos might look fancier than other vehicles, they are still susceptible to risks like driver error and vehicle defects.

Deadly Crash Details

The accident took place in the upstate New York town of Schoharie, about 160 miles away from New York City. The limo’s 17 passengers were all headed to a brewery for a birthday celebration. Knowing the event would involve alcohol, they had all made the smart decision to use an alternative form of transportation. Despite their responsible steps, their trip still took a tragic turn.

Their limo ran through a stop sign and collided with a parked, unoccupied vehicle. All 17 passengers died. The victims were mostly young couples, including a husband and wife who had only been married since June. Four of the victims were sisters. The driver of the limo was also killed, as were two nearby pedestrians. With a total death toll of 20, it is the deadliest mass transportation accident in the United States since 2009.

Investigating the Cause

The cause of the accident is still unclear. According to text messages from one of the victims, sent from inside the limo, the vehicle was in poor condition. The New York State Department of Transportation has confirmed that the limo, a converted 2001 Ford Explorer, failed an inspection last month. Additionally, the limo driver did not have the proper certification for driving a commercial vehicle.

With an unlicensed driver and a faulty vehicle, there are many factors that could have led to the deadly collision. It’s possible that the accident was caused by driver behavior and then made worse by the vehicle’s inadequacy. The fact that the limo was a converted vehicle also meant that it likely did not have common safety features, like side airbags. This probably made it more dangerous, especially when combined with the frequent lack of seat belts inside limos.

Limo Accident Statistics

Limo accidents like this recent tragedy are relatively uncommon. Between 2006 and 2016, there were 19 deaths involving limousines. Out of these 19 victims, only one was wearing a seatbelt, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. While not wearing a seatbelt is sometimes the decision of the passenger, many limos do not offer seatbelts or do not have enough for all passengers, a factor that makes limo accidents particularly dangerous.

The limo company owes their passengers a reasonable standard of care. This means that the driver should be licensed and responsible, the vehicle should be up-to-date, and that any concerns should be immediately addressed. When they breach this standard of care with an issue like an unlicensed driver or a faulty vehicle, the limo company or driver might be responsible for any injuries or deaths.

Limos are sophisticated, stylish, and a safe alternative to drunk driving.  But accidents like the one in Schoharie are a reminder than it’s important to keep safety in mind and know your rights as a passenger. That way, you can arrive at your destination with safety and style.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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