In closing, I would like to recognize the
hard work of the NTSB staff in producing this report, and to thank my fellow
Board Members for their very thoughtful participation in the process. I would also
like to thank Adrienne Lamm, whose presentation today on the axle failure was
her first in a Board meeting. Well done Adrienne. I’d also like to thank Brian Bragonier
also presenting for the first time in a board meeting. Good job Brian.
APVs, or “Duck Boats,” provide a unique
sightseeing option in many American cities. Yet until now, these vehicles have been
operated without any regulatory oversight when driven on our roads and highways.
A tourist who travels on a commercial vehicle
to the starting point of an APV tour enjoys many safety protections, among them
occupant protection and manufacturing oversight. Upon boarding the APV, however, those
protections are lost.
In this crash, we also saw that these
loopholes can have tragic effects not only upon the APV passengers, but upon occupants of any other vehicles that happen to
Today’s recommendations, if acted upon, will help
close these loopholes. Most specifically, they will result in the remediation
of the safety defect in “stretch ducks” that this investigation uncovered.
But they will also result in placing the
manufacture of APVs under the purview of NHTSA. As such they will be subject to
the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and all other applicable regulations,
including NHTSA’s safety recall process.
The Safety Alert that we are publishing with these
recommendations will educate other APV operators about the circumstances of
this and other APV accidents. This unique form of transportation merits
For example, distraction can play a
particularly important role for operators of such vehicles. Since the crash
that we discussed today, Ride the Ducks Seattle has added a second operator to
serve as a tour guide on its tours.
Route selection can also play an important
part in the safety of duck boat riders, and Ride the Ducks Seattle has also
altered its routes.
And, if passengers are afforded the
protection of seat-belts on land, safety briefings are needed for the water
portion of a journey – where it is safer to travel without seatbelts fastened.
Duck boats offer sightseers the opportunity to
view cities across this country from unique vantage points, in a unique mode of
transportation. However, their operators and manufacturers need not, and should
not, subject passengers to a lower standard of safety.
If today’s safety recommendations are acted
upon, and if today’s safety alert is heeded by duck boat operators, the same protections
that apply to other land transportation will also apply to duck boats.
Consequently, our roads and highways will be safer places, not only for APVs
and their passengers, but also for vehicles and pedestrians that share the
roads with the APVs.
We stand adjourned.