BOSTON (CBS) – Investigators are trying to piece together evidence from the tragic limousine accident that killed 20 people in Scoharie, N.Y. over the weekend.
Eighteen people in the limo and two pedestrians were killed when the stretch Ford Excursion owned by Prestige Limousine ran a stop sign, plowed into a parking lot, and slammed into an empty SUV.
Sean Kane, an auto safety expert and the President of Safety Research and Strategies, says he has seen safety issues with limousines in the past.
“These vehicles don’t meet the same safety standards. They never had to,” Kane said.
In the case of the New York limo, it was cut up and put back together to become a stretch vehicle, capable of holding 19 passengers. Kane says that may have changed how the car would break up in a crash.
“You start changing the actual crash dynamics,” Kane said.
In Massachusetts, limousines are required to have seatbelts but Kane says that does not mean they are accessible.
“In most limousines you’ll find that they’re tucked down beneath the seats, they’re hard to find, if you can find them at all,” he said.
New York State Police revealed Monday that the limo had previously failed inspection and that its driver, Scott Lisinicchia, who was among those killed, was not properly licensed.
The NTSB says there were some seatbelts in the vehicle but it is unclear if any of the 18 people inside were wearing them.