Limousine companies react to Calif. tragedy

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- The limousine tragedy that happened in California certainly has the attention of limo companies here in the Valley.

I spoke with two companies, which are both members of the Arizona Limousine Association, and both agree that the incident is extremely unusual. But, one interesting thing they mentioned was that some limos have a fifth door located toward the front of the limo, which is also referred to as the "bride's door."

Accent Transportation here in Phoenix showed us one of their limos with that feature. That so-called bride's door actually allows easy access in and out of the limo and the one that caught fire in California didn't have a bride's door, which may have contributed to the women being unable to escape.

A second thing to consider is that the limo is believed to have had too many people inside. Barry Beall, the owner of First Class Executive Limo, who is also president of the Arizona Limousine Association, said customers frequently try to cram more people inside and it's something most reputable limo companies just won't stand for.

"It puts the operator in a very, very bad situation," Beall said. "We have a hard steadfast policy of never, ever overloading a vehicle. Most other companies are in the same boat. You just don't overload vehicles."

Most limousine companies try to maintain the correct number of people inside because they say if they are in a collision or something horrible does happen, then their insurance policy is voided.