Corbett Limo Safety Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk
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September 12, 2013 (916) 651-4010
Tragic Deaths on San Mateo-Hayward Bridge Impetus for SB 109
SACRAMENTO – Legislation authored by Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett (D-East
Bay) increasing the number of required exit points in the passenger compartments of limousines
passed from the Legislature today with strong bipartisan support and now proceeds to Governor
Jerry Brown for consideration.
SB 109 requires that limousines have at least two rear side doors and one or two rear push-out
windows to be used in the case of an emergency. The doors must be situated on opposite sides
of the vehicle. At least one or two rear push-out windows must also be placed on opposite sides
of the vehicle, though provisions within the bill allow for a push out window to be installed on
the roof of the limousine if vehicle structural limitations exist.
Under SB 109, limousine operators will also be required to instruct passengers on the safety
features of the vehicle before the beginning of any trip. The bill applies to all new limousines
after July 1, 2015 and contains a two-and-a-half year phase-in period for limousines modified or
extended prior to that date.
This important bill follows the tragic deaths of a bride and four friends in a horrific limousine
fire on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge in early May, as well as a second incident in Walnut
Creek where 10 elderly women narrowly escaped serious injury less than six weeks later. In
recent months, several other limousine fires throughout the nation have also highlighted the
urgent need to protect passengers in these vehicles.
“SB 109 ensures that limo passengers are able to safely and quickly escape the vehicle when
time is of the essence,” Senator Corbett said. “SB 109 seeks to prevent any future tragedies
similar to the one that occurred on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge in May that killed five young
women. Limousine safety is critical so that passengers can be assured that they will arrive at
their destinations safely for their wedding, prom, birthday or other celebrations. I remain
optimistic that Governor Brown will sign this critical bill into law so that limo passengers can be
confident that they will be able to evacuate a limo in the case of a fire or any other emergency.”
SB 109 is supported by the California Professional Firefighters, California Public Utilities
Commission and the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.