Duck Boats Across U.S. Are Facing Criticism, Calls For Improvements

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Duck boats can be a lot of fun, and certainly are useful vehicles for tourism purposes. But with an increasing number of deaths connected to the popular, amphibious vehicles, fleets might be due for major overhauls.

Deadly accidents caused by the vehicles have led to the withdrawal of half of a duck boat fleet in Seattle, and the suspension of some tours in Philadelphia, according to the Boston Herald. But the vehicles perhaps are most-popular in the Boston area, due to the city’s tradition of parading its professional sports franchises around on duck boats after winning championships.

But Boston has seen its own issues with the vehicles, and it’s taking action. In response to a duck boat running over and killing 28-year-old Allison Warmuth last spring, Boston is enacting new safety regulations in April for the vehicles.

“We believe that duck boats in their current design should be banned,” Allison’s father Ivan said, via the Herald.

Warmuth’s parents have pushed the industry on improved safety measures for the vehicles, successfully lobbying for a Massachusetts law requiring duck boats to have blind spot cameras and proximity sensors, according to the Herald.

Witnesses of Warmuth’s accident have claimed to have seen the duck boat’s driver not looking ahead when the accident occurred. Moreover, video examined by the National Transportation Safety Board reportedly shows the driver taking their eyes off the road to point out landmarks.

Cindy Brown, CEO of Boston Duck Tours, said the company “places a premium on the safety of its passengers.” Brown also touted more cameras, new back-up sensors and an additional person to narrate tours, according to the Herald.

Thumbnail photo via Flickr/Bob P.B.

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