When we hear the word “chauffeur” it might conjure up images of a tuxedoed limo driver, shuttling celebrities to and from fancy night clubs or red carpet movie premieres. However, plenty of everyday people use limos to get to events like prom or weddings, as well as for a convenient mode of transportation around town or to the airport. Because the riders trust drivers to care for them from point A to point B, it’s important that they know these operators are safe and reliable. Chauffeur drivers in Indiana need to get a special license and pass a series of tests through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. So what exactly are those requirements and what duties do these drivers have to their passengers?
Chauffeur’s License: Who Needs It?
In 2017, the Indiana BMV officially replaced the Chauffeur’s License with the umbrella term “Operators for Hire Endorsement.” According to the BMV’s website, a For-Hire Endorsement must be obtained by anyone who:
- Uses a vehicle for commercial purposes with a gross weight of 16,000 pounds, such as dump trucks or large trucks moving construction materials.
- Drives an automobile or vehicle that is used to transport passengers. The vehicle may only transport up to 16 passengers, including the driver
How Should a Chauffeur Protect Their Riders?
Similar to a standard driver’s license, anyone looking to become certified with a for-hire endorsement must first complete a vision screening and successfully pass a written test of their driving knowledge. Their safety knowledge applies not only to best driving practices but ensuring any vehicle is safe to drive. The 2018 deadly limo crash in upstate New York caused the death of 20 people after the rented vehicle – which had failed several inspections for its brakes – careened through a stop sign and plowed into an SUV.
What Laws Apply to Passengers in Limos?
We often think of people clinking champagne glasses while riding in the back of limos. Despite the fact that Indiana has strict laws against open containers, passengers in rented limos and party busses are actually allowed to drink. The law also prohibits generally distracting behavior in a limo, such as rowdy behavior, standing up, or shouting, as this could potentially cause an accident. Sticking your head out of the roof of a limo might seem like a fun idea, but it could lead to operator error and cause an accident.
Anyone being driven by a chauffeur in Indiana should know their rights and how the operator must be qualified to drive the vehicle. The Indianapolis personal injury attorneys at Cline Farrell Christie Lee & Bell want to help you get what you need to move forward in life with peace of mind. From listening to your story to fighting for you in court, we’re your advocates. If you or a loved one have been the victim of an injury involving a for-hire driver and believe negligence was a contributing factor, contact us today for a free consultation.