Boston Duck Tours announced Monday it is adding a second crew member aboard the controversial land and sea crafts ahead of proposed state legislation aimed at imposing tougher new regulations after an accident earlier this year left one woman dead.
The company, in fact, is adding a number of new safety features and rules, many which were part of the proposed legislation now in the State House.
According to the company, chief executive officer Cindy Brown reached out to Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans to notify them of the new safety changes.
"We are eager to move forward with this new staffing plan," Brown said in a statement. "There is a lot of work to do. Boston is our home; we recognize what a privilege it is to serve residents and visitors and it has always been our commitment to do so utilizing best-in-class safety practices."
In addition to adding a second crew member, the company has installed new exterior-view cameras and is fitting proximity sensors to the front and back of the amphibious trucks. "This can only complement BDT's current strong safety practices,” said Brown. “This change will be in place for the opening of our 2017 season."
Currently, one worker is responsible for being both driver and guide during the tours. Reportedly the company will add an additional 40 to 50 new employees, some as drivers some as tour guides, to helm Boston Duck Tours' 28 vehicles, which resemble the World War II landing ships that spearheaded the Allied assault during D-Day.
The Boston based Safe Roads Alliance and Boston Cyclists Union both praised the move on Twitter, thanking Boston Duck Tours for “making the streets” safer.
The Boston Cyclists Union told Metro in May that it was working with lawmakers to impose new rules on duck boats, and had even called for them to be “taken off the road until they’re made to be safe to coexist with vulnerable road users,” according to Becca Wolfson, the group’s executive director.
The parents of Allison Warmuth, a 28-year-old who was killed April 30 in a collision with a duck boat while riding on a motorized scooter, have called her death preventable and blamed "distracted driving" — the drivers having to drive and conduct a tour at the same time — as one of the main causes for the fatal accident.