Dangerous Limousines: What to look out for - WNEM TV 5

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Dangerous Limousines: What to look out for

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

It's that time of year. High school proms, weddings and people are hiring limousines for other special events.

But how do you know if one of the 700-plus limo companies in the state is safe? And, do you know what regulations are in place to prevent a tragedy?

It's a nightmare come true. You're stuck in a burning limousine, with no way out. That's exactly what happened earlier this month in California. A newlywed bride and four of her friends died. The owner of a mid-Michigan limousine company has a theory about why the victims didn't make it out of the limo alive.

"In my opinion, looking at that car it was a '99 Lincoln with a double side glass. Those side glasses are easily kicked out. Yeah, there was panic, everybody was panicking but if the driver was properly trained and knew a little bit more about the car he probably could have helped those people" said Pat Hoseska, an owner of a state-certified limousine company for 23 years.

Hoseska knows all about those kinds of limos. He's expecting a busy season around here.

The I-Team talked with Janet Foran with the Michigan Department of Transportation about the limo safety issue. She says you have a better chance of safely escaping a situation like the incident in California if you make sure of one thing.

"Remember that just because a company advertises on the internet or maybe on Craigslist does not mean that that company is licensed with the state of Michigan" said Foran.

Yes, a limo company needs to be licensed in Michigan. Make sure you check before booking one.

The state also requires certified inspections for limos seating up to 15 people. Those are usually done by private garages. Party buses , however, limos that seat more than 15 people need to be examined by MDOT bus inspectors at state facilities. Whatever the case, limos and buses must pass inspection before they can hit the road.

Meanwhile, Hoseska says he tries to keep newer limos in his fleet to avoid mechanical problems and to make it easier to pass those MDOT inspections. And he has a safety tip for anyone looking at hiring a limo company for their special event. "You want to be safe. Come out and look. We encourage people because of the fleet that we have, we're proud of what we've got" said Hoseska.

If you want some guidelines on hiring a limo service go to the hotlinks section at wnem.com.

Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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