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Limousine Drivers: Who's Behind the Wheel?

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

Perhaps you should.

WRAL-TV5's WisdomMartin checked into limousine regulations, then talked to some limousinedrivers and passengers at the Walnut Creek amphitheater in Raleigh. Whathe discovered may surprise you.

In Raleigh, limousine owners are not required to make sure theirdrivers are safe or even to determine if they have valid driverslicenses. Limousines also do not have to be inspected for safety inRaleigh.

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

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

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

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

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