Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett (D-East Bay) is pleased to report that the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) today approved her audit request of the Public Utilities Commission Transportation Reimbursement Account, which includes funds used to oversee and regulate limousines in California. The California State Auditor will conduct the independent audit over the next several months and issue a public report once the analysis is completed.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has statutory responsibility to regulate charter- party carriers, including for-hire limousine services. The CPUC is responsible for issuing licenses to carriers, suspending and revoking those licenses when necessary and conducting inspections and investigations in order to ensure compliance with state laws.
This timely audit request follows the deaths of a bride and four friends in a tragic limousine fire on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge in May, as well as a limousine fire in Walnut Creek when 10 elderly women narrowly escaped serious injury less than six weeks later.
The audit request approved by JLAC includes determining:
- How fees collected from charter-party carriers are being spent;
- Whether fees collected from charter-party carriers are spent for enforcement activities;
- To what extent the CPUC is enforcing safety regulations under the Passenger Charter-Party Carriers’ Act.
"The untimely deaths of five young women on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge in May has forced all
to recognize the importance of enhancing limo safety requirements in California in order to ensure that passengers remain safe,” Senator Corbett said. “This audit will delve into the CPUC’s financial account that funds the oversight and regulation of limousines in our state. We want to ensure that every dollar collected for limo safety in California is indeed going toward that end.”
Senator Corbett recently introduced SB 109 giving limousine passengers a much better chance of escaping these vehicles in the event of a fire or other emergency. Specifically, limousines would be required to have rear side doors at both ends of the passenger compartment and two rear push-out windows, as well as ensuring that limo passengers are briefed on safety features prior to their trip.