ALBANY, N.Y. — The National Transportation Safety Board called today for new seat belt requirements for limousines following a crash in upstate New York that killed 20 people.

The board released safety recommendations almost a year after a Ford Excursion SUV that had been modified into a huge stretch limo blew through a T-intersection in rural Schoharie and went into the woods.

The crash near a popular country store on Oct. 6, 2018, killed the driver, 17 passengers on a birthday outing and two pedestrians.

The safety board recommended to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that lap and shoulder seat belts be required on all new vehicles modified to be used as limousines.

The agency also recommended that seating systems in these vehicles meet minimum performance standards to ensure their integrity during a crash.

The carnage in the Schoharie crash, the board wrote, “might have been mitigated by a combination of adequate seat integrity, well-designed passenger lap/shoulder belts and proper seat belt use.”

None of the 17 passengers appeared to have worn available seat belts at the time of the crash, the board said, and the belts were poorly designed and “would not have provided adequate protection.”

Prosecutors in New York allege the limo company’s operator, Nauman Hussain, allowed an improperly licensed driver to operate an “unserviceable” vehicle.

Just weeks before the crash, the limo had failed a state inspection that examined such things as the chassis, suspension and brakes.

Hussain has pleaded not guilty to criminally negligent homicide and his lawyer has said investigators rushed to judgment.

His trial is scheduled for January.

The national safety board had publicly complained previously that law enforcement officials had delayed the agency from doing a full inspection of the wrecked limo.

As a result, the inspection put off potentially crucial safety recommendations from the agency.