With school prom season approaching, many parents will hire a limousine to take their children and friends to the big dance. But most parents don’t realize that hiring an unlicensed or non-compliant limousine company leaves them legally exposed and puts the students at risk.
In a recent letter, the California Public Utilities Commission, which licenses and regulates for-hire transportation companies, advised the State’s Department of Education about the importance of hiring a licensed, properly insured limousine company.
According to Valerie Beck, program manager with the Safety and Enforcement Division, “With prom season just around the corner we would like to alert school officials of the potential problems involving unlicensed operators so that students and parents can be forewarned.”
Beck laid out steps parents can take to ensure they are hiring a compliant limousine company. Checking with the CPUC to verify a transportation company’s licensure status was one of the steps outlined.
But this letter is unlikely to reach most parents, said Daniel Bessette, owner of Sonoma Sterling Limousines. “And even if it did,” he said, “there is actually a lot they need to know to make sure the company they hire is safe, properly insured and legally compliant.”
The downside of failing to use proper due diligence, according to Bessette, is that parents or school officials who hire non-compliant school-related transportation could face potential liability if things go wrong. Examples, said Bessette, include alcohol use permitted in the vehicle or an accident with injuries where the carrier is not properly licensed or insured.