Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to give two state agencies the legal authority to take dangerous vehicles off New York roads. The call for action stems from last year’s deadly limousine crash in Schoharie that killed 20 people.
In an unrelated news conference in Hudson Falls on Wednesday, the Governor was asked why the state did not seize the plates of that limo after it had failed NYSDOT inspections on two separate occasions. Governor Cuomo said currently, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Motor Vehicles have a certain set of laws they have to follow. They do not have the capacity to use their own discretion when it comes to pulling plates.
Currently, any vehicle capable of carrying ten or more people must go through DOT to get inspected.
If the vehicle fails inspection, the owner is given paperwork with a list of problems to fix, a sticker marking the vehicle “out of service” and they are ordered not to drive the vehicle until it’s fixed.
However, DOT is not authorized to take the plates.
On Wednesday, the Governor told reporters that he’ll be working aggressively to give NYSDMV and NYSDOT the authority they need. “If they see a vehicle that is unsafe, I believe safety first and I would be much more aggressive in saying if DOT inspects a vehicle and it doesn’t pass, I would give DOT the ability to pull the plates. I would give DOT the ability to boot that vehicle. I would give DOT the ability to call State Police and tow that vehicle,” said Governor Cuomo.
As it stands now, there’s quite a process before that can happen including a hearing and an administrative review.
“I respect the rights of the vehicle owners and people operating businesses, I get that, but the safety of the passengers, to me, comes first,” said the Governor.
The operator of Prestige Limousine is facing charges.