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Thursday, February 02, 2023

Atlantic City, N.J.—The Limousine Association of New Jersey (LANJ) met for an informing discussion at the Taj Mahal during the Chauffeur Driven Show on November 5 for their breakfast meeting, which was open to all show attendees.

The meeting started with a welcome by LANJ Executive Director Barry Lefkowitz and then some information from sponsors Randy O’Neill from Lancer Insurance, Mike Marroccoli from Capacity Insurance, and Carl Restivo from Don Brown Bus Sales.

Lefkowitz then introduced N.J. Division Administrator Chris Rotondo of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), who discussed Operation Quick Strike, a federal government initiative to stop deadly charter crashes—particularly from buses—in light of recent accidents.

“For years,” Rotondo said to the crowd, “we’ve allowed the states to do the maintenance portion of this, and they’re very good at it. What we’ve done is expanded that.”

As Rotondo acknowledged, the inspections have been very rigorous. After four months and 250 carriers inspected in the program’s first phase, 30 percent were found unsatisfactory, 73 percent received a fine of some kind, and 30 percent of vehicles were placed out of service.

Rotondo also welcomed any operators who want to know more about inspection requirements or challenge any inaccurate data stored in their company’s safety profile to visit Rotondo also explained that driver behavior is the number one cause of crashes in passenger carrier industries. Furthermore, most of those drivers work second jobs and lose focus out of fatigue. Rotondo urged attendees to have any extra employment by their drivers in the open and documented along with mandatory drug testing and background checks.

After Rotondo’s presentation, Lefkowitz brought up the PASS Act, federal legislation awaiting a vote that would grant motor vehicle regulators direct access to criminal records for the sake of background checks for commercial drivers. Rotondo clarified that he could not, as a federal employee, endorse legislation. He did, however, express confidence that it would get passed.

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Manchester, N.H.—Grace Limousine, N.H.’s largest chauffeured car services provider, announced the acquisition of Avante Limousine and Transportation of N.H. this past October. Avante’s team will still operate out of its original headquarters in West Lebanon, which will also serve as the new headquarters for Grace Limousine’s northwestern N.H. operations.

Grace Limousine CEO Mike Campbell expresses nothing but confidence in his new partnership with Avante owner Sheri Barnes and her husband (and Avante Operations Manager) Tom Barnes. “I know both Tom and Sheri will continue to bring great value to Grace as we move forward, and am excited for Grace to broaden the suite of services Avante has offered to their loyal clientele over the past 7 years,” says Campbell.

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Haverhill, Mass.—Black Tie Limousine of Massachusetts, amid steady growth, has hired three new staff members to its team. Event Coordinator Kemma Healey, Director of Sales and Affiliate Relations Nicolette Burns, and General Manager David Lathbury were all added to the Black Tie family between 2012 and 2013.

“There are times in our careers where we come into contact with individuals who are a perfect fit for your organization,” states Mark Mollica, Black Tie Limousine president. “Successful organizations find ways of hiring and retaining them, this has been one of the key factors in the success of Black Tie Limousine.”

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