A tragic accident occurred over the weekend, taking the lives of 20 people in the small town of Schoharie, New York. A limo carrying four sisters, other relatives and friends to a birthday celebration ran a stop sign and crashed into a parked SUV outside a store in upstate New York, killing all 18 people in the limo and two pedestrians, officials and victims’ relatives said.
It is the deadliest transportation accident in nearly a decade. At least six children lost at least one, or both of their parents in the crash.
Following the accident, it was discovered the limo should not have been permitted on the road after a failed inspection last month, and the driver did not have the proper commercial license to operate the vehicle. One of the passengers in the limo texted another individual his concern that the limo was unsafe.
As more details emerge on exactly what caused the accident, speculations have come out about whether distracted driving contributed to the accident.
As more individuals are connected via technology, the likelihood of car accidents has gone up 12.3 percent, according to a 2018 Distracted Driving Report prepared by Motus. Motus defines the “mobile workforce” as those whose job it is to drive, including drivers who use their own cars, as well as taxi, truck and limo operators who drive for companies. This technology includes devices and systems within a vehicle that allow drivers to receive and process payments. These figures from Motus showed an increase in accidents from 5.7 million in 2013 to 6.4 million in 2017 where the driver of a commercial vehicle, such as a taxi, truck or limo, was using a smartphone.
The National Transportation Safety Board is currently conducting a full investigation into what caused the accident. The intersection where the accident occurred is known to be a notoriously dangerous intersection. The accident occurred at an intersection of two major state roads where only a stop sign marks the intersection at the end of a steep hill, which can be easily missed.
The custom remodeling of the “stretch” limo could also be partially to blame for the accident. Many times, limo companies will modify the vehicles after they are manufactured. However, problems arise when these changes do not comply with federal regulations. According to AAA, many safety advocates insist that these modifications drastically reduce the safety features of the vehicle.
According to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the limo had failed a recent state safety inspection and should not have been on the road. Further, it was discovered that the limo driver was not properly licensed. More details continue to unfold regarding this tragic accident, which took 20 people in the prime of their lives.
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