Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a limousine safety bill that increases the number of required exit points in the passenger compartment of these vehicles.
Limousine operators will also be required to instruct passengers on the safety features of the vehicle before the beginning of any trip under SB 109.
The law applies to all new limousines after July 1, 2015 and contains a two-and-a-half year phase-in period for existing limousines.
Following a deadly limo fire on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge that killed five women in early May, as well as a second incident in Walnut Creek where 10 elderly women narrowly escaped serious injury in mid-June, Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett (D-East Bay) became convinced that enhanced safety requirements were indeed necessary to ensure limousine passenger safety.
“SB 109 protects limo passengers in the case of fires or other emergencies when it is critical that occupants escape the vehicle immediately,” Corbett said. “This important bill requires additional exit points to prevent a future tragedy similar to the one that occurred on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge last May. When traveling to a wedding, birthday, prom or other occasion, it is vital that limo passengers remain safe so that these celebrations do not turn into tragedies. I appreciate the support of my legislative colleagues on both sides of the aisle—as well as Governor Brown—for supporting this legislation that will offer limo passengers the peace of mind that they will be able to evacuate these vehicles quickly and safely.”
SB 109 was supported by the California Professional Firefighters, California Public Utilities Commission and the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.