NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Metro transportation officials and limousine services both emphasize safety in the aftermath of the deadliest U.S. crash in nearly a decade.
Twenty people died in Saturday's crash in upstate NY, including the limo's 17 passengers, the driver and two pedestrians when the modified limo plowed through a stop sign and crashed into a parked SUV.
The driver of the limo that crashed "did not have the appropriate driver's license to be operating that vehicle," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
He also said the vehicle -- which was an SUV modified into a limousine -- "was inspected by the New York State Department of Transportation last month and failed inspection and was not supposed to be on the road."
Metro Transportation Licensing Commission director Billy Fields said it's a horrible tragedy.
"When you get a whole lot of people in a vehicle and an accident happens, regardless if it was speed involved or break failure or whatever it might've been, you know, it is tragic," said Fields. "They're in there, they're expecting to be safe. They're probably not in seat belts because it's a vehicle that they've rented so they can go to a party or go to an event where they can be relaxed when they get there and have a good time and come back and be safe when they get home."
Fields said the commission won't accept limousines that are older than 10 to operate in the Nashville. Also, companies are required to regularly inspect their equipment.
"We do require the companies to come back to us and say these vehicles are safe," said Fields. "They've been checked. They have mechanical standards that they're meeting. And then, if we see something on the street that doesn't look right, we have the right to go to the vehicle and check it out. If we think it's a problem we'll take it off the street and have additional inspections done."
Allstars Limousine Service owner Trey Harris said he has fleet inspections every Monday.
"Checking tires, headlights, breaks, blinkers, every single thing on the car," said Harris. "We go through it. You're talking about professional drivers who do it day in and day out."
Harris said he doesn't allow his limo drivers to text. All of them have Bluetooth earpieces to use for communication. Harris believes limo travel is one of the safest forms of travel and it helps many have a good time without driving drunk.