Multiple deadly accidents involving duck boats have occurred in cities throughout the country over the past few years. Duck boats are amphibious vehicles originally used during World War II to transport goods and troops across land and water. In more recent times, duck boats have been transformed into the ultimate tourist attraction, sightseeing vehicles that can float in the water and drive down the road alongside cars and trucks. Currently, more than a dozen American cities have duck boat tours, and Boston is one of them.
Boston’s fondness for duck boats is understandable; they have been used in parades and to celebrate sports championships for years. In fact, the New England Patriots just celebrated their Super Bowl win by riding down Boston’s streets in two dozen duck boats.
A String of Fatal Duck Boat Accidents Has Raised Concerns
Unfortunately, not everyone in Boston – and across the country – is as fond of these land-water vehicles. In fact, some advocates want to see them banned altogether. Five college students were killed in Seattle in a duck boat accident in 2015. In Philadelphia, three people were killed in two separate duck boat crashes. And right here in Boston, a duck boat ran over 28-year-old Allison Warmuth, killing her, last year. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine if you should file a personal injury lawsuit after any type of motor vehicle accident, including those involving duck boats.
Ivan Warmuth, the father of the young woman who was killed by a duck boat last year, believes the vehicles should be banned. According to critics, the massive vehicles are dangerous due to their current design. Drivers have to deal with multiple blind spots, more than with other motor vehicles, making it difficult to see the road directly below them. In addition, the drivers typically double as tour guides, pointing out and talking about various historical landmarks as they drive through Boston.
Improved Safety Measures in Boston
Warmuth’s parents are lobbying for new legislation that will improve the safety of duck boats. They have already seen some success; MA has passed a law requiring duck boats to be equipped with proximity sensors and blind spot cameras. In addition, duck boats are now required, by law, to have a second employee on board. This will prevent the driver from being distracted by having to narrate the tour while operating the vehicle.
Following the accident that resulted in Warmuth’s death, the National Transportation Safety Board examined video showing the driver turning in his seat to point to landmarks while driving. ‘‘I hear again and again from Boston Duck Tours and any of these other companies that safety is their No. 1 priority, and if that’s the case, you can’t argue that the safest way to operate the vehicles is for the driver to also be giving the tour,’’ said Kevan Moniri, who was a passenger on Warmuth’s scooter when the accident occurred. He says he realized, as the duck boat approached, that the driver could not see them in his path.
Less than three months after Warmuth’s fatal accident, a woman from New Jersey was seriously injured when a duck boat struck her on a Boston street. If another’s negligence has caused harm to you or a loved one, you may be able to recover damages by consulting with a MA injury lawyer. Hopefully, duck boat tour companies nationwide will take the proper safety measures to reduce the risk of serious injury and death. In the meantime, consider the risks before taking a duck boat tour, and use caution when approaching a duck boat as a cyclist, passenger, or while operating a motor vehicle. Continue reading