Much has been reported about the horrific limousine crash that killed four young women enjoying a bachelorette party in Long Island's wine country on July 18. Most of the reporting has focused on the driver of the pick-up truck that struck the limo, 55-year-old Steve Romeo, who fled the scene and was later arrested. Romeo had admittedly been drinking, but tested below the legal limit for DWI, perhaps because so much time elapsed between the accident and the blood alcohol test.
What has not received much comment is the inherent danger of a stretch limousine making a U-turn across a major intersection regulated only by a blinking traffic signal. The U-turn left the flank of the limousine exposed to the deadly impact by the front end of the pick-up. This type of T-bone collision is far deadlier to the occupants of the struck vehicle than a head-on or rear-end collision would be.
A side-impact collision is especially deadly in a spacious limousine, where occupants generally do not wear seat belts, nor do they get the full benefit of side-impact airbags. Occupants who are not wearing seat belts are more vulnerable to subsequent collisions and speed changes before motion finally ceases.
A U-turn is always a risky maneuver because the turning vehicle must cross one lane of traffic and turn into the far lane, essentially cutting off two on-coming lanes and putting that traffic in the driver's blind spot. U-turns cause confusion for drivers of on-coming vehicles who do not know whether the vehicle is making a left turn or a U-turn. Smaller vehicles with tight turning radii can negotiate U-turns more readily than longer vehicles such as trucks. In fact, truck drivers are warned never to attempt a U-turn, no matter how broad the intersection. Trucks simply move too slowly and cut too broad a swath across on-coming traffic.
The same logic should apply to limousines. They are elongated vehicles that cannot make tight turns. They move slowly to give their unrestrained passengers the smoothest ride possible. Limousines simply are not designed for U-turns, and for the safety of their passengers should avoid them at all costs.
If you have sustained a serious injury in a car accident in Brooklyn, or any of the other boroughs of New York City, let an experienced accident attorney evaluate your case. To schedule a free consultation with Rubin & Licatesi, P.C., call 516-227-2662 or contact our Brooklyn office online.