WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR…

WASHINGTON DC (CBSNewYork)Saturday’s deadly crash in upstate New York is raising other safety concerns for the limousine industry.

Jarring dash camera videos show what happens when a passenger in the back of a car doesn’t wear a seat belt, reports CBS2’s Kris Van Cleave.

Seat belt use – or the lack of it – may help investigators understand why so many people died when the limousine hit an SUV and crashed.

Research shows back seat passengers are less likely to buckle up. and while nearly every state requires front seat passengers to wear a seatbelt, 22 states do not have a similar law for those in the back. Nearly half of all traffic deaths last year were unbelted.

“When you have the dynamics of people colliding against hard surfaces and against each other in a crash, the outcomes can be significant,” said the National Safety Council’s Debbie Hersman, a former chair of the NTSB.

Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was in critical condition after a crash on the New Jersey Turnpike. (Credit: CBS 2)

In the 2014 limo crash that nearly killed comedian Tracy Morgan and left another man dead, the NTSB found none of the passengers were wearing seat belts which contributed to the severity of the injured.

Federal regulators have little authority to regulate limos and because most don’t cross state lines, laws are left up to states and cities.

Following a 2015 limo crash on Long Island that killed four, a special grand jury found limos with custom remodeling to accommodate more passengers can lack important safety features. The case also urged New York’s governor to establish a task force on limo safety.

“If nothing changes… there is bound to be another tragedy,” said the report.

Hersman says she would like to see better clarity and consistency in the laws, noting there are Frankenstein laws for Frankenstein vehicles – vehicles that have been modified after they were originally built.

You can check the records of limousine companies in New York City by requesting information about them. To do that, click here.