A safe ride: What you should know when hiring a limo

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) A ride to a birthday celebration ended tragically in upstate New York as a limo plowed through an intersection and a parking lot. Twenty people, 18 in the limo and two pedestrians, died.

The accident is a reminder that a trip to and from a celebration like a wedding, prom or birthday party can end in tragedy.

That's one big reason people hire limos. It's a safe ride or should be, allowing us to concentrate of the celebration at hand. So, how safe are they in our area?

"My answer to that is 'Yes, in Reno and at Reno Tahoe Limousines, they are safe," says Rich Crombie. Crombie is the chauffeur manager for Reno Tahoe Limousines.

At this point we don't know if the vehicle or the driver was at fault, but Crombie says both are closely inspected, monitored and licensed in our area by the Nevada Transportation Authority, as well as California and federal agencies.

"So we have two state agencies and a federal agency who look us over consistently all the time, all the vehicles and our drivers' records."

That means annual inspections of the vehicles,, but a good limo company does goes through a check list before and after each trip. Those logs help the company stay on top of maintenance issues and provide real data should problems arise.

The drivers are also constantly monitored. GPS trackers record their speed and the condition of their vehicles throughout the trip. All this is done to ensure a safe ride for the passengers, but there are independent operators out there who may not be following all these rules, instead offering services at a bargain price.

"There could be some who might undercut, but then there might be a reason. Maybe they don't have the proper licensing. Maybe they don't have the proper safety and things of that sort."

And that may be the important takeaway from the tragic accident in New York.

Like any other transaction, when hiring a limo you should be an informed customer.

"Ask your provider, Are you safe? Are you in compliance with state and federal regulations. Is your driver certified? Does he have the the proper licensing? Ask those questions."

You can also check the company's record with the Nevada Transportation Authority.