Calls have been made for safer seating and seat belts for all passengers to be fitted in all new limousines after a crash in New York last year which killed the driver, 17 passengers and two pedestrians.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is investigating the crash involving a 2001 Ford Excursion, has provided a number of recommendations to make limos safer in a new report.

The Board is calling for lap or shoulder belts to be fitted for each passenger on all new vehicles modified to be used as limousines and recommends that seating systems in limos meet the minimum performance standards.

The NTSB has also reiterated an earlier recommendation for the state to pass legislation that provides for primary enforcement of a mandatory seat belt use law for all vehicle seating positions equipped with a passenger restraint system, including passenger seats in limousines.

“It’s disheartening to learn that some passenger vehicles are legally on the road that don’t offer passengers well-designed seats and seat belts,” said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt.

“All vehicle occupants should have the same level of protection, wherever they are seated. And everyone should use seat belts whenever they are available.”