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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-16-019
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: NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Classify all amphibious passenger vehicles (APV) as non-over-the-road buses and, under the authority of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, make newly manufactured APVs subject to applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in effect at the time of manufacture.
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 provide APV passengers with appropriate occupant protection by requiring these vehicles to meet existing, applicable sections of the FMVSS for buses. We urge you to reconsider your position and update your requirements as recommended. Pending such action, Safety Recommendation H-16-19 is classified OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

Date: 4/17/2017
Response: From Jack Danielson, Acting Deputy Administrator: NHTSA notes that in accident report HAR-16/02, the NTSB identified that the manufacturer of the vehicle (RTDI) failed to meet NHTSA's certification and safety regulations. Additionally, the NTSB reported that the amphibious vehicle in question would fall under NHTSA's existing definition for a " bus" when used on public roadways. Hence, NHTSA sees no need to amend the vehicle classifications since these vehicles were appropriately identified and would clearly be required to meet any applicable FMVSS for buses in effect at the time of manufacture. NHTSA intends no further action on this recommendation and requests that H-16-19 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.