Ohio state troopers inspect thousands of limousines, party buses each year

Posted at 8:44 PM, Oct 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-08 20:44:59-04

The Ohio State Highway Patrol conducts about 6,000 motor coach inspections each year, including limousines and party buses.

"Every vehicle that has a gross weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more, or the vehicle is designed to transport 16 passengers, including the driver, is required to get an annual inspection," said OSP Sgt. Todd Belcher.

There is a renewed focus on inspections across the country after a limo crashed in upstate New York on Saturday, killing 20 people.

On Monday, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo said the limo had recently failed an inspection and should not have been on the road.

In Ohio, Sgt. Belcher said the vehicles cannot be longer than 45 feet and inspections are done top to bottom. Troopers examine the lights, tires. frame, exhaust, the interior and other parts.

Seatbelts and airbags are required for the driver and front passenger, but not for passengers in the rear.

If any part of vehicle is not up to standard, the limo or bus cannot hit the road until problems are fixed.

A new decal is used each year after a vehicle passes. The color of the decal changes-- similar to a sticker on a license plate-- allowing troopers to stop a limo or a bus in violation.

TL Worldwide Transportation in Akron has more than 100 vehicles, including one limo and several buses.

General Manager Brian Warren feels the yearly state inspections are important for the industry, but stressed his company takes additional safety measures by having a mechanic perform frequent inspections.

"Our vehicles are all inspected. When they leave the building, somebody comes out, goes through the vehicle as far as blinkers, horns, everything and when the vehicles are brought back, it's a post inspection and it's the same thing," Warren said.

TL also has a $5 million insurance policy, much higher than the required minimum just under $400,000.

Warren said limos are only allowed to be modified or "stretched" through QVM, quality vehicle manufacturing. But he said in some states, some limos are stretched by non-manufacturers.

Troopers also check for improperly stretched limos during annual inspections.

"It's definitely a safety concern as far as the vehicle's quality of holding up to certain accidents, standards," Warren said.