WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Wedding and prom season are officially in full swing which means limo rentals are starting to pick up. But are they safe?
Multiple high schools in the Cape Fear Region will host their proms on Saturday.
WECT obtained a copy of an official complaint filed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety administration against multiple limo companies in the Cape Fear region for regulations violations.
The companies are not being named as an investigation into the businesses has been confirmed by the FMCSA; however, officials are urging limousine renters to be on the lookout for shady service, including limos operating without the correct insurance policy.
According to Carolyn Henson, President of the North Carolina Limousine Association, a $1.5 million insurance policy is required for any company operating vehicles that carry up to 15 passengers. Henson said that vehicles carrying over 15 people are required to carry a $5 million insurance policy.
"You would not get into an airplane at 30,000 feet without knowing that the FAA has checked them out; same situation with these cars," Henson explained.
"You're driving 70 miles per hour on the interstate. How do you know that you're going to get that child to the prom and back home safely?" she questioned.
The limo association president explained that passengers won't be covered if an uninsured limo wrecks and any injuries are sustained.
Henson said the problem is that some companies don't carry the insurance amount required. She elaborated that limousine regulations are set for the state of North Carolina, but there is a lack of enforcement due to limited resources.
Henson said the lack of enforcement leads to limo companies operating without insurance to save money.
"Take your car, get your website, get you a phone number and you're in business. Unfortunately, that's how things work in this part of the country," Henson explained.
Michael Faulkner operates Cape Fear Limo, a Wilmington transportation business. Faulkner said he competes for business with uninsured limo operators nearly every weekend.
"It's very frustrating because they can get away with it and charge half the price and they are severely putting the public in danger," said Faulkner.
Before getting into a limo, Henson advises all passengers to ask limousine drivers to see a 'for hire' license plate, proof of an insurance policy, and a date for when that policy went into effect.
That information can be validated through the search queue on the front page of the FMCSA website: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/.