SPOKANE, Wash. – Spring means one thing for high school students: prom season. But as students – and parents – look into renting a limo for the big night out, there are concerns about safety regulations in light of a limousine fire in California that killed five women Saturday.
John Mosby, the owner of Spokane Limousine, told KHQ if the limo in California had a fifth door, the people inside likely would have survived. It's an expensive addition, but his vehicles have it.
In light of the tragedy, Mosby also said, it's imperative that you know what you're renting, and not just do it over the phone.
"We encourage people to come and inspect the cars themselves," Mosby told KHQ, pointing out that his SUV models have an escape hatch in the roof, and/or pop-out side windows.
Also, Spokane Limousine drivers aren't allowed to have the divider between the cab and the back of the limo completely up; that way, if there is an emergency, they will know about it immediately.
Mosby said the #1 thing you should watch out for is that the company is licensed, bonded and insured with the state. That means each vehicle passes a rigorous 40-point inspection through WSP. But Mosby said very few limousine companies do it, because it's expensive and hard to pass.
The Department of Transportation regulates the larger vehicles, which seat 16 or more people. However, the Department of Licensing regulates the smaller limousines, and Mosby said the problem lies in the lack of enforcement.
"We have 17 pages of new rules and regulations this year [from DOL], but here we are, we have nobody to enforce them," he said.
That's why it's so important that you do your own homework before renting a limousine.
Here are other safety features to watch out for:
-Drivers should have their driving record and criminal history checked
-Drivers should have to pass random drug tests
-Every limousine should have at least one fire extinguisher and first-aid kit
-Business licenses, invoices, and other documentation should be readily available