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Regulators increase proposed penalty against Ride the Ducks to $308,000

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state regulators have approved a new settlement agreement with a Seattle tour company involved in a deadly crash last year, increasing the penalty to $308,000 after saying a previous amount was inadequate.

The Utilities and Transportation Commission approved the settlement Tuesday, contingent on agreement from Ride the Ducks. It increases an initial settlement agreement in March that proposed a $222,000 penalty, which commissioners said was insufficient.

Commission staff found 159 of Ride the Ducks’ motor safety violations were acute or critical to protecting public safety. The rest were related to record keeping.

Under the new settlement, the commission agrees to suspend $152,000 of the penalty on the condition that the company does not have violations for the next two years. A message left with Ride the Ducks was not immediately returned.

The crash on Seattle’s Aurora Bridge last September killed five international college students and injured dozens of others when a repurposed military “duck boat” swerved into a charter bus.