New York limo crash underlines importance of verifying hired vehicles

DENVER -- The National Transportation Safety Board continues its investigation into the limousine crash that killed 20 people in New York over the weekend.

It is the deadliest traffic collision in the U.S. since 2009. State officials say the limo had failed an inspection and shouldn’t have been in service.

The crash is bringing more attention to the importance of vetting hired vehicles and verifying they are being regulated by government agencies.

“There’s always an opportunity -- or window -- for someone to drive without insurance or drive without inspecting his vehicle,” said Hossam Hassan, the owner of Ultimate Limousine in Denver.

Hassan says companies that follow the rules are pretty safe.

Federal and state regulations require specialized insurance and routine inspections. The public can verify Colorado requirements are met by looking up what’s called a Public Utilities Commission number.

Hassan says that extra step is important because fleet cars can rack up 5,000 to 6,000 miles a month. That high mileage becomes dangerous if those vehicles are not well-maintained or not driven by a competent driver.

“[Customers] have to find a trustworthy company ... they should check reviews,” Hassan said.

Along with looking over reviews, searching federal DOT numbers can help.

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