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The first part of a new package of measures to help improve the safe operation of stretched limousines and keep unlawful vehicles off the road has been unveiled by Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick.

New guidance, published today, will sit alongside new stringent pre-registration checks coming into force in the summer to make sure stretched limousines with more than eight passenger seats meet GB safety and environmental standards.

Jim Fitzpatrick said:

"The popularity of stretched limousines has soared in Britain and we are determined to ensure that they are used safely. We all know that limousines are great for parties, but it is important that these vehicles meet the required construction standards and are properly licensed and registered.

"This new guidance will help operators to ensure that their vehicles can lawfully be used on our roads. In the summer we will also be introducing a strict pre-registration check to help make sure unsafe stretched limos are kept off our roads."

The new guidance - developed after seeking the views of the limousine industry - details the safety, registration and licensing requirements needed to be met before passengers can lawfully be carried.

The new pre-registration safety inspection will ensure that new larger limousines comply with GB construction standards. Only vehicles that meet strict requirements on weights, dimensions, turning circle, seating, brakes, tyres, doors, lamps and reflectors and glazing will be able to pass the inspection.

The publication of the guidance comes as the Government tightens the law around Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) licensing. From today, owners of vehicles with up to eight passenger seats - including limousines - which were previously considered exempt from PHV licensing under the "contract exemption" must be licensed as a PHV. This means that passengers in these vehicles - including children or vulnerable adults - can be assured that the driver, vehicle and operator will have been through the proper checks.

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