Local News

Limousine Drivers: Who's Behind the Wheel?

Posted June 17, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Limousines lend an air of class to any event. At the very least, they provide a great way to arrive at a party in style. But, when you climb into the back seat of one, do you ever think about who's in the driver's seat?

Perhaps you should.

WRAL-TV5's Wisdom Martin checked into limousine regulations, then talked to some limousine drivers and passengers at the Walnut Creek amphitheater in Raleigh. What he discovered may surprise you.

In Raleigh, limousine owners are not required to make sure their drivers are safe or even to determine if they have valid drivers licenses. Limousines also do not have to be inspected for safety in Raleigh.

For the Jimmy Buffet concert Monday night, many concert-goers chose to travel in hired limousines because they felt it would be safer than drinking and driving themselves.

Jane Morris has been a limousine driver for 10 years and says the general public should not assume they'll be safe in a limousine. She says people should ask a lot of questions.

Some companies, according to Morris, don't have insurance and some drivers don't have valid drivers licenses, and that places the burden of research on the consumer.

Morris says she would like to see tougher regulations that would make it harder for fly-by-night limousine services to operate. The fact is, according to Raleigh Police Lt. Charles Murray, there is no city ordinance regulating the industry.

Things you should check on when you hire a limousine are insurance coverage, driver testing and licensing.