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California Lawmakers Seek Tougher Rules for Limos

There’s no sign of any legislative effort in Congress after a deadly California limousine crash this spring, but state lawmakers in Sacramento are weighing bills aimed at making the vehicles safer.

State legislators are considering a pair of bills designed to make it easier for passengers to escape burning limousines.

The first would require two doors and two separate emergency window exits to be built into all limousines manufactured beginning in 2015. Another would set a new requirement that all limos carry fire extinguishers.

California lawmakers also are contemplating legislation addressing the same operation of limousines. A proposal by Democrats in the legislature would allow California Highway Patrol officers to inspect all limousine vehicles for compliance with state rules and regulations. Currently, only vehicles capable of carrying more than 10 passengers are subject to random stops.

Safety advocates, such as former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration head Joan Claybrook, have criticized a lack of oversight of the industry. She told The Sacramento Bee that the state should use its licensing authority as leverage over operators to require safer operation.

“I would focus on having more severe inspections,” she told the newspaper. “States have a clear authority to do it, and you can set pretty tough standards.”

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