After two Bay Area limousine fires in less more than a month, California State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett is pushing for new safety measures.
SB 109 by Corbett, D-San Leandro, would require two exit doors in the rear portion of a limousine, and at least two windows that can be pushed out in the passenger compartment, in order to allow a fast evacuation if there’s a fire or other emergency.
The California Public Utilities Commission oversees the limousine industry, but has been criticized for not being more proactive in responding to safety needs, Corbett said.
“Though four young women luckily survived the horrible fire on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, the fact remains that five women perished unnecessarily and in a way that seems both incomprehensible and preventable,” she said in her news release. “SB 109 will hopefully ensure that a tragedy such as the one that occurred on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge on that fateful night never again happens. Families should not have to suffer the horrible pain associated with losing a loved one in this tragic manner. This legislation simply strengthens limo safety requirements in California by making sure that passengers can evacuate the vehicle quickly in the case of an emergency.”
This is a “gut and amend,” in which the language of a previously introduced bill is being replaced with entirely new subject matter; SB 109 originally dealt with letting vehicles exceed length limits in order to accommodate aerodynamic devices that decrease drag and increase airflow over tractor-trailers.