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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-16-018
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: Adopt the US Coast Guard’s assumed average weight per person and amend the certification regulation in 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 567 to specify that the gross vehicle weight rating for an amphibious passenger vehicle “shall not be less than the sum of the unloaded vehicle weight, the rated cargo load, and 185 pounds times the vehicle’s number of designated seating positions.”
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Unacceptable Response
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:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: NHTSA (Open - Unacceptable Response)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 11/13/2017
Response: Our intent in issuing this recommendation was to ensure the consistent and uniform application of federal safety requirements. We urge you to reconsider your position and adopt the recommended weight rating for amphibious passenger vehicles. Pending such action, Safety Recommendation H-16-18 is classified OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

Date: 4/17/2017
Response: From Jack Danielson, Acting Deputy Administrator: The NTSB recommends that NHTSA increase its designated seating position weight limit from 150 pounds to 185 pounds to match the Coast Guard's new standards. However, according to the NTSB accident report, the vehicle manufacturer used the Coast Guard's more stringent 185-pound weight limit in its axle design, not NHTSA' s. Furthermore, commercial passenger vehicles currently on the road using NHTSA's 150 pound per designated seating position specification do not demonstrate a safety concern with failure of their axles, as observed in the RTDI APV, as long as they are operated within their GVWR limit. For these reasons, NHTSA intends no further action on this recommendation and requests that H-16-18 be reclassified 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.