Less than two months after a deadly crash near Boston Common, lawmakers are proposing new rules for tourist-schlepping vehicles like the city’s fleet of duck boats.
The proposal, announced at the State House on Wednesday morning, would require that duck boats be fitted with cameras and sensors to monitor blind spots, and that drivers not be allowed to narrate tours of the city while operating the vehicles.
On all land-and-sea vehicles, one person would need to be designated the driver, while a second staff member would lead the sightseeing tour. In the past, duck boat drivers have done both at the same time.
“These are the things that we view as basically common-sense measures that we should move forward now without the need for further delay or investigation,” Sen. Brownsberger, the bill’s co-sponsor, said Wednesday.
Brownsberger and Sen. Joe Boncore, as well as Rep. Jay Livingstone, were joined on Beacon Hill by the parents of Allison Warmuth, the 28-year-old who was killed April 30 in a collision with a duck boat while riding on a motorized scooter. She had reportedly been stopped in front of the duck boat in its blind spot, and was overtaken at a red light when it turned green. An investigation into the crash is ongoing.
“At first we were just shocked and we weren’t really thinking about much beyond our own grief,” Ivan Warmuth, Allisons’s father, said in a news conference. “As we became more aware we started to get really concerned that this was allowed to go on and nothing was being done to prevent this from happening again.”
The crafts, bulky World War II-era amphibious landing vehicles, have given guided tours in Boston for two decades and have reached iconic status in the city. In addition to carrying tourists past landmarks while drivers ham it up with jokes and trivia, the boats are also fixtures of events like post-Super Bowl and World Series victory parades.