East Bay legislator’s bill would require new limousine safety features

 In News

SACRAMENTO — One month after a fire killed five women in a limousine on the San Mateo bridge — and only a day after a group of elderly women escaped a similar fire in Walnut Creek without injury — a Bay Area legislator introduced a bill requiring more safety features on the state’s limousines.

SB 109, from State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, would require that all limousines have at least at least two exit doors in the passenger compartment, and that at least two windows in the passenger compartment can be pushed out from the inside.

“Though four young women luckily survived the horrible fire on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, the fact remains that five women perished unnecessarily and in a way that seems both incomprehensible and preventable,”

The state’s limousine industry is overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission. Corbett noted in her news release that the commission “has been criticized for not being more proactive in responding to the ongoing safety needs of this … industry.”

A CPUC spokesman said Monday that the commission was investigating how many people were in the limousine that caught on fire Sunday in Walnut Creek. Any misrepresentation of the seating capacity could result in a penalty of $7,500 per day of violation, according to CPUC regulations.

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