I recently read an article in the New York Times about a sad limousine t-bone car accident, involving a bunch of women taking wine tour in a stretch limousine. At first glance, one would think that the women did everything right. They knew they would be drinking alcohol so they hired a limo to prevent anyone from being tempted to drive drunk.
As a limousine car accident lawyer, what I found interesting about the article was that the Times interviewed an engineer with the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) who took a look at the crash and was not at all surprised at the disastrous results of this limousine car accident.
First consider that the altered seating configuration in a limousine change all the usual car accident impact rules. Depending on where each passenger is sitting, a t-bone car accident impact will be a rear-end collision for some of the occupants, a head-on collision for those sitting opposite, and a side-impact for those sitting in the front or rear. Limo passengers also rarely wear seatbelts (sometimes they are not even available) and there are usually no airbags installed (even side curtain airbags). As the IIHS engineer explained, the airbag manufacturers just don’t make airbags large enough to handle stretch limousine car accidents.
The engineer explained how stretch limousines are made: essentially a normal car is cut in half, extender plates are then installed to expand the floor and roof. Unfortunately, limo manufacturers also have to remove vertical safety pillars found in the structural cage of normal cars. These safety pillars are used to protect vehicle occupants from broad-side impacts. OEM limos adhere to some safety standards while cars that are modified into limousines do not.
People entering limos assume that they are safe for car accidents. But, ultimately, the part of a limo that is stretched is also much more vulnerable compared to normal cars, often making them uncrashworthy.
If you are injured in a limousine accident, call a car accident lawyer right away.