The ABC11 I-Team investigated stretch limos, warning of safety concerns, years before the tragic crash in New York that killed twenty people.
We traveled to Southern California and visited the Classic Limousine factory where we discovered many limos are not built to withstand a serious crash.
Classic Limousine has produced thousands of limos for heads of state, royalty and limousine companies.
The company owner, Nick Giacobone, said they follow strict guidelines put in place by car makers to ensure the limos are safe when they leave the factory.
Giacobone said that many other vehicles are stretched and retain their standard equipment, meaning their brakes, steering and overall handling cannot accommodate the extra weight.
"They're just not built and designed for 18-20 people in the back and 200 and 240-inch stretches," said Giacobone. "It ends up being a rolling dump truck. It could crash through a number of different things and it would hurt the people in the back."
Giacobone showed us how they begin the process by sawing in half a specially designed Ford or Cadillac that is built to be stretched.
Classic Limousine is not permitted to lengthen them by more than 120 inches . The company then adds safety equipment like steel crash beams, so the cars will pass government crash tests, and finally they install luxurious amenities.
Giacobone said many other limo makers do not follow the rules.
"When a vehicle gets to be that heavy, you run into tire problems, you run into braking distance, there's just a number of things that could go wrong," said Giacobone.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the stretch limo involved in the deadly crash had been rebuilt in a way that violated federal law.
ABC11 I-Team uncovers the dangers of many stretch limos
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