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Ride the Ducks of Seattle admits to safety violations, agrees to pay $222K penalty

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SEATTLE -- State transportation officials announced Thursday that Ride the Ducks of Seattle, LLC has agreed to pay a $222,000 penalty to resolve the pending complaint against the company.

The company admitted to violating 463 motor carrier safety rules that were identified in Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission staff’s 2015 investigation -- 159 of them are classified as acute or critical to protecting public safety. The remaining 304 violations were related to recordkeeping.

Commission staff and the company propose the UTC suspend $111,600 of the penalty associated with the recordkeeping violations, only if the company does not violate acute, critical, or alcohol and controlled substance testing requirements for 24 months.

The agreement will go before the three-member commission who will either approve, modify or reject the agreement.

In January, the UTC decided the tour company may continue operating if they keep passing safety inspections. The agency upgraded the Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicles from unsatisfactory to a ‘conditional’ safety rating.  The commission also approved the company’s safety plan.

A crash on Sept. 24 killed five international college students and injured dozens of others when a repurposed military “duck boat” swerved into an oncoming charter bus on Seattle’s Aurora Bridge.

The company is scheduled for more compliance investigations and vehicle inspections in January of 2017 and 2018.