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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-16-017
Synopsis: On Thursday, September 24, 2015, about 11:11 a.m. Pacific daylight time, the 2005 DUCK 6 amphibious passenger vehicle (APV) was traveling north on the Washington State Route 99 Aurora Bridge in Seattle, Washington. At the same time, a 2009 Motor Coach Industries motorcoach was traveling south in the center lane. The DUCK 6 driver heard a loud noise at the left front of the APV; the vehicle drifted to the right and then veered left suddenly; the driver lost control of the vehicle. The APV crossed the center line into the southbound lanes of oncoming traffic and struck the motorcoach. Three other vehicles were damaged during the crash event: a southbound 2011 Ram Trucks pickup truck and two northbound vehicles—a 2006 Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle and a 2007 Toyota Tundra pickup truck. As a result of this crash, five motorcoach passengers died. Seventy-one motorcoach and APV occupants reported injuries ranging from minor to serious.
Recommendation: TO THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Require that Ride the Ducks International, as a manufacturer, issue a recall for the stretch amphibious passenger vehicle front axle safety defect to provide owners a remedy as required under the Safety Recall Campaign.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Seattle, WA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: HWY15MH011
Accident Reports: Preliminary Report - Highway - HWY15MH011Amphibious Passenger Vehicle DUCK 6 Lane Crossover Collision With Motorcoach on State Route 99, Aurora Bridge
Report #: HAR-16-02
Accident Date: 9/24/2015
Issue Date: 1/3/2017
Date Closed: 11/13/2017
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: NHTSA (Closed - Acceptable Action)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 11/13/2017
Response: We are pleased that RTDI complied with your December 6, 2016, consent order by filing a defect information report. This action satisfies Safety Recommendation H-16-17, which is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

Date: 4/17/2017
Response: From Jack Danielson, Acting Deputy Administrator: After learning of the Aurora Bridge crash, NHTSA issued an Information Request to RTDI, LLC. Review of the company's submissions led NHTSA to conclude that RTDI is a manufacturer of motor vehicles under the Safety Act, which RTDI did not contest. One of the documents submitted to NHTSA was a Service Bulletin sent by RTDI to its licensees on October 1, 2013, with regard to the potential for the front axle on the Stretch Ducks to fail. RTDI provided NHTSA with confirmation that all RTDl-produced vehicles affected by the service bulletin, except those at Ride the Ducks Seattle, have had the axle repair conducted. On December 6, 2016, NHTSA issued a Consent Order that found RTD I to be in violation of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Safety Act), and under the terms of the Consent Order, the company agreed to pay fines of up to $1 million. The Consent Order also details RTDI's responsibilities to remedy its noncompliance with the Safety Act, including obtaining an outside consultant to advise the company on their legal responsibilities under the Safety Act. RDTI will pay $480,000 in civil penalties, and an additional $500,000 should the company further violate the Safety Act, or the Consent Order. Finally, the company will spend $20,000 to conduct industry outreach to help educate manufacturers building vehicles using combinations of donor and new components, including other amphibious vehicle manufacturers and small, independent manufacturers of heavy trucks, on the importance of meeting their Safety Act obligations, including early warning and other reporting requirements. In compliance with the Consent Order, RTDI has filed a defect information report. The company also sent formal customer notification letters to the 57 Stretch Duck owners that they are entitled to reimbursement for costs incurred for remedying the vehicle as part of the October 2013 Service Bulletin, or in the case of the Seattle licensor, that the remedy is available and free of charge. While enforcement activity is ongoing, NHTSA has exercised its authority via the Consent Order to provide a remedy to the remaining defective Stretch Ducks. For more information about the Consent Order, please visit rtdi consent order.pdf. NHTSA requests that H-16-17 be classified as "Closed - Acceptable Action."

From: NTSB
Date: 1/3/2017
Response: On November 15, 2016, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) adopted its report concerning the September 24, 2015, crash in which an amphibious passenger vehicle collided with a motorcoach in Seattle, Washington.1 Additional information about this crash and the resulting recommendations may be found in the report of the investigation, which can be accessed at our website,, under report number NTSB/HAR-16/02. As a result of this investigation, we issued 10 new recommendations, including 2 to the US Coast Guard, 3 to Ride the Ducks International, 1 to Ride the Ducks of Seattle, 1 to the Passenger Vessel Association, and the following 3 recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.