403-702-4000 info@xlimo.ca

Truth about Stretch Limousine Safety

Hi People! Kurt here with XLIMO.CA. Your one stop shop for Calgary safe limousines. I have been contacted by various folks in response to the limo crash this past weekend. I have been looking at as much video and photos of the NY limo crash. There is very little to go on. Does anyone have any direction as to where I can find more photos? I am still mystified as to why so much life was lost. If any affiliates can answer some of questions, please do.

NY LIMO CRASH 2018 October Facts Check:
1.) Chassis manufacturer: ford
2.) Model: Excursion
3.) Drive type: 2wd
4.) Coachbuilder?
5.) Stretch length?
6a.) Designated Seating Capacity front? Is this a DOT certified number?
6b.) Designated Seating Capacity mid? Is this a DOT certified number?
6c.) Designated Seating Capacity rear? Is this a DOT certified number?

What is the CERTIFIED GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING?

IS THE GVWR STICKER/STAMP PRESENT AND LEGIBLE?

IS THE COACHBUILDER VIN STICKER PRESENT AND LEGIBLE?

Is the coachbuilder QVM Certified? Did the Coachbuilder have current DOT certification at the time of the build?
7.) How many stress beams were installed in the coach section?
8.) What is the distance of the stress beams?
9.) Was it a single tier side impact beam or as much as 3 tier?
10.) What was the gauge of the metal used on the impact beams?
11.) Which style were the beams?
12.) What are the welds used? Spot (distance between spots) ? Bead (thickness)? Zig/zag? Or combo or combo/overlay
Was there proper fish plates installed?
13.) What was the frame used for the stretch? C-channel or Box channel? Again…what was the gauge?
14.) All interior trim pieces must be inspected for proper automotive grade screws, nuts, bolts, etc.
15.) Fact: NOBODY WEARS A SEATBELT IN A LIMO OR PARTY BUS.
16.) As I said to others time and time again, the coach section is the area that is added to the original chassis to make it longer. These are typically much more resilient in a front or rear crash than the original chassis. However…as per the media reports, the engine was resting in the drivers compartment….in front of the front B-pillar. IN front of the B-pillar. No additional strengthening made. Especially in a front end crash. What happens, is the front end gets sandwiched between the added weight of the rear area behind the b-pillar (behind he driver seat) and the object it is impacting. These results are seen widely across the board in any vehicle with weight behind them. Like a F55o Moving truck for example. Limousines are not an exception. One of may of my concerns, is now that the additional weight rests on the factory braking system. This limousine looks like a Standard Ford 140” Excursion Limousine. Transport Canada Limits the Passenger Capacity to 10psgrs. That includes the driver. For obvious Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings. This vehicle in the NY crash, had a total of 16ppl +_ the driver. Far outside the safe seating (GVWR) of the original chassis. I saw the photos of the passengers. Transport Canada gives the average weight of a person approximately 160lbs I believe. It may be 140lbs. The problem again isn’t a singularity. Its a combination of many. It is a barrage of problems. Industry ignorance. Consumer Ignorance. Blissful ignorance. Everyone has become so complacent with simple knowledge, that anyone can go buy a limousine and start driving it. There is so much to understand about operating one of these vehicles. They do not stop fast. At all. If the original car was engineered to stop at a certain distance in an emergency, than whatever the weight was has to be amplified.
17.) The damage to the vehicle will be extreme. The forces involved grossly magnify the damage. The US’s NTSB guy reports that this was a high energy collision. I can show you what 50kph collision with one of these limousines looks like. It seems that he is suggesting that speed may have been a factor. Of course it is. These vehicles require greater distances to stop. It still doesn’t explain away who had the right away. I see multiple animations of the crash. They are all grossly inaccurate according the information I have. Its simple science.
18.) IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT All FORD EXCURSIONS/EXPEDITIONS/NAVIGATORS ARE SPEED LIMITED BY FORD TO APPROX 160/170KPH. THIS IS WRONG. THEY SHOULD BE JUST LIKE A FORD F550. 127KPH. BECAUSE OF WEIGHT. IF FORD AND DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CALLS FOR THE F550’S MAX SPEED TO BE LIMITED TO 127KPH DUE TO WEIGHT, THAN WHY IS A VEHICLE THAT’S BEEN MODIFED TO HAVE AN INCREASED WEIGHT NOT?
19.) WHAT ARE THE TIRES ON THE LIMO? TIRES ON LIMOUSINES HAVE TO BE FAIRLY SPECIFIC. SPEED RATINGS DUE TO INCREASE FRICTION FROM ADDITIONAL WEIGHT. LOAD RATINGS.
20.) THE BRAKING SYSTEMS ON FORD EXPEDITIONS/EXCURSIONS/NAVIGATORS ARE NOT AS AN INDUSTRY STANDARD, UPGRADED BY THE COACHBUILDER. Why not? These limousines are archaic engineering standards compared to current standards today. And the current standards today are subpar at best.
21.) THE CANADIAN LAW STATES THAT YOU CAN MODIFY ANY VEHICLE WITH 10’000+1 OR MORE KM’S, or 1yr plus a day or more. I am not aware of how it is in the United States. However….The gray area exists in commercial enforcement. IF the vehicle is to be used for commercial purposes, than the vehicle must have very specific modifications that meet engineered specs. The problem arises here: Who is looking….Its not required on a Mechanical Fitness Inspection. There is no education…not to the Law Enforcement officials, the consumer…the inspection facilities. No One.
22.) Operators who are compliant can’t compete with non-compliant operators who are operating cheaper and poorly maintained and outright ILLEGAL UNSAFE limousines. Operating vehicles for commercial passenger transportation )LIVERY USE), is a very costly business. A standard non-stretch sedan should be $150/hr. However, the market will not support that unless there is a regulated standard of rates/legal seated position of the passenger.
23.) If the City of Calgary has a Bylaw of $80.00/hr for a 4psgr Non-Stretch Sedan, then it should be $20/passenger. A 20psgr limousine should be $400/hr. However…do you rent a limousine for comfort or to be squeezed in like a 7ppl in a Taxi-Van…(Grossly overweight {look at the vehicle’s GVWR sticker/stamp}as well ironically) ???
The arrival of Uber like services has now completely destabilized the market. Uber didn’t cause this destabilization. They just exploited it good for them. good business. They have shown that human behavior is not something we can control. $$$$$$. People want cheap rides. They don’t care about the over-all quality of the ride until its time to complain. When something bad happens. I bet the NY Crash customers got a great deal.
24.) All commercial drivers must undergo psychological assessments bi-annually. Just like their vehicles. You can be 75years old and have great eye sight. But suffering from some cognitive decline not reported. Reflexes. Stressful situations. Try having a bunch of people yelling at you while your driving. Kinda like a school bus. Very distracting. You need to be able to tune that out. Focus on the road. Focus everywhere. A drivers job is to drive.
25.) Limousines should be required to have a co-pilot. Again. The drivers job is to drive.
26.) It seems according to the news reports, the limousine didn’t stop at the intersection or even try to slow down. Why? Yet the forensic evidence that I have been able to see doesn’t support extreme speed.
27.) Please keep in mind, that any observations I have made are based solely on the limited evidence I have been able to find.
28.) Media reports suggest that the driver was inadequately qualified to operate the vehicle. I have seen drivers who have the proper license but still can’t operate a limousine worth a dime. Why can’t stretch limousine drivers be required to submit a road test?
29.) I have removed the stereo controls in my limousines so customers can’t mess around with it. They get to hook up their music via Bluetooth at the beginning of the trip. Less distracting that way.
30.) Transport Canada has certain requirements when a vehicle is to be registered as a bus. Yet the province hasn’t made their inspection protocols to imitate these requirements. Such as mid-ship signal lights.

I am very curious as the mindset of the driver for this incident. something doesn’t add up. There shouldn’t of been so much loss to life. The speed would of had to be extreme. At least 50mph/80kph at impact. But the sheer weight of the vehicle would of rammed through any vehicle in its path. The photos shows the vehicle resting in some shrubbery. It shows a spare tire on the ground. Ok. umm…why is there a spare tire (a donut for a car, not a stretch limo) pushed into the ground. I don’t think it belongs to the accident scene. I can very well be wrong if it came from another vehicle that was impacted. I can’t see ANY photos of the ACTUAL collision with other vehicles. I can’t see the damage to other vehicles. or the surroundings.
How old was the driver?
When was his last medical?
Current media reports suggest that he had a troubled past already. Did have a nervous breakdown at the time of the crash. What was his name?

There are really too many unknown variables at this point to conclusively point to a cause to the accident. I feel that there will be many indirect causes of this accident.

At the end of the day….
It will always come down to the operator of the vehicle. Always. He was in care and control of the vehicle at the time of the collision. If the vehicle wasn’t safe to operate, he shouldn’t of been driving it. However…there are thousands of limousines on the road that are not safe. And millions of Commercial Transportation companies operating unsafely.

My Recommendation is a complete moratorium on limousines being imported from the United States immediately until the current engineered requirements and the current system can be improved upon through education and adequate enforcement resources. No vehicle can be modified and used for Commercial Passenger Transportation until it is been completely retested with crash tests, braking tests, load bearing tests, etc, and government inspected.
2nd Recommendation:
All current commercial passenger vehicles that are stretch limousines must be pulled from the road if the vehicle is already designed to allow for the vehicle to exceed its original engineered brake parameters. For example, Ford Excursion/Navigators/Expeditions were built as a 140” or greater stretch. This immediately allows the vehicle to be physically loaded past the GVWR. These vehicles are not permitted to even pull any kind of trailer.
3rd Recommendation
All vehicles such as party busses that have been modified from its original FIRST DATE OF REGISTERED IN-SERVICE design, need to have government approved certifications. Currently, you can do whatever you want. With nobody to enforce the laws. I have had drivers of party busses tell me that their owners have told them to take the side roads because they couldn’t get registration, and thusfore insurance. The bus wouldn’t pass Commercial Vehicle Inspection Permit inspections. I have had drivers and owners of these retrofitted school bus/party busses brag about putting 65 to 110 college kids on a bus. WTF? The vehicle is still regulated to a specific load capacity. 72 kindergarten kids. Do the math as kids grow up. The larger the kid, the lower the weight limit.
I have been told by our law enforcement that they have been instructed by their superiors to leave the PARTY BUSSES alone. It is the publics problem. Law enforcement…from City Police commercial enforcement to Provincial enforcement do not have the manpower to stop these guys. That’s insane. I have told them the exact way to do it. They don’t care enough. I can kinda empathize. Would you want to be the officer pulling over a bus full of 110 intoxicated persons. (oh. By the way. AGLC – ALBERTA LIQOUR AND GAMING COMMISSION, only allows a maximum of 20 passengers on a vehicle if alcohol is to be consumed. AGLC CLASS B PUBLIC CONVEYANC PERMIT also requires the driver to possess a Pro-Serve certificate. Ummm…..is the driver supposed to pay attention to driving or serving…I don’t think the driver can do both. AGLC as I am led to believe, requires that the customer is not required to by mandatory obtain alcohol from the driver (limo service only) when in the vehicle. Ummm….who is regulating distribution of alcoholic beverages to the customer to ensure no over serving? All AGLC PERMITTED VEHICLES MUST HAVE A SOLID WALL SEPERATING THE DRIVER…I HAVE SEEN STANDARD SUV’s and NON-STRETCH LINCOLN TOWN CARS WITH  AGLC permit sticker. Its not a limo…lol. And next to none of these retrofitted/modified Party/Limo busses have a solid wall. Gotta shake my head.

We lost 20 human beings this past weekend. Un-excusable loss of life. Mothers. Fathers. Sons. Daughters. Someone’s soul mate. Someone’s best friend. What happens when one of these busses with 110 human beings starts down a hill and the brakes let go and it crashes through cars or a sidewalk full of pedestrians. Moms. Children. Human beings.  On a busy Red Mile in downtown Calgary on 17th ave at 14th street. It can happen. Anywhere. Negligent support from consumers after the cheapest ride also supports this. Lets as a people help make each other aware. Life has no price. Share this post on social media.

My deepest thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this tragedy.

 

Thank-you
Respectfully,
Central Reservations/Dispatch
XLIMO.CA (Exclusive Charters)
403.702.4000
info@xlimo.ca
www.xlimo.ca

“Calgary’s #1 Source for Transport Canada Certified & Compliant” Super Capacity Stretch Limousines”
We have the only Transport Canada Approved Certified Stretch Style Limousines authorized to hold more than 12psgrs. As well as Jointly Approved through Ford’s QVM. (Quality Vehicle Modifier) Program. When Safety, Compliance, Liability & Risk Management comes first, we like to set the standard.

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