Bar U-turns by limousines, stiffen manufacturing rules for them, and require chauffeurs to complete the same training as bus drivers, say parents whose daughters perished in a Cutchogue collision two years ago.
And Suffolk County must install a turn signal at the intersection where four young women died and four others were seriously injured after a pickup truck broadsided their rented stretch limousine while it was making a U-turn, the parents say.
“We don’t want any other families to have to go through what we are going through,” said Paul Schulman, who lost his 23-year-old daughter, Brittney M. Schulman.
Though Suffolk added a traffic light at the intersection after the crash, that will not prevent future deaths because limousines are too long to safely make U-turns there, he said.
“I saw, on the two-year anniversary of the accident, there were vehicles making U-turns and I was just, I was sick to my stomach when I watched this. I was watching buses and limousines and party buses making U-turns,” Schulman, a retired NYPD, said by telephone.
To pressure lawmakers, he started an online petition — signed by nearly 4,000 so far — that lists upgrades he says are imperative.
Schulman plans to present the petition — located at labspetition.org/ — to Suffolk lawmakers early next year. And, if the solutions are not adopted, “I plan on going to Albany if we have to.”
Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said in an email that Suffolk — not the town — is responsible for County Road 48, where the July 18, 2015, collision occurred.
“The petition seems to call for a common-sense solution,” he said.
Suffolk’s Department of Public Works in a statement said the state did not let it select which vehicles it could regulate and prohibit U-turns.
However, another ongoing review is being conducted at the request of Legis. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue), the department said.
A spokesman for Krupski was not immediately available.
A Suffolk county spokesman did not comment on when the review might be finished or whether it might ask the state to allow Suffolk to bar U-turns.
Last December, a special Suffolk grand jury report found that poor limousine construction and regulation, a badly designed traffic light and increased traffic on the North Fork all contributed to the crash.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pressured the National Transportation Safety Board to probe limousine crashes and on Friday again urged stricter oversight of stretch limousines.
“All too often, stretched limousines lack basic safety protections, including not enough side impact air bags, rollover bars, appropriate exits and more,” his spokesman said in a statement.