Bill Calls for More Duck-Boat Regulations

By Dan Murphy

Family members of a woman struck and killed by a duck boat on Beacon Hill in April joined three lawmakers Wednesday to advocate for legislation that would impose new safety regulations on the vehicles.

“This was a preventable accident,” said Ivan Warmuth, father of 28-year-old Allison Warmuth was struck and killed by a Boston Duck Tours boat while riding a moped near the intersection of Beacon and Charles streets on April 30. “My daughter did nothing wrong,”

Allison’s mother, Martha Warmuth, added, “It’s obvious that these vehicles are unsafe, so to continue to have that situation with distracted drivers is a real problem.”

The legislation, sponsored by State Senator William Brownsberger,  and State Reps. William Straus and Jay Livingstone, would require duck-boat operators to equip their fleets with blind-spot cameras and proximity sensors. The bill would also prohibit drivers from operating sightseeing vehicles while narrating tours or providing other information or entertainment. If passed, the legislation would be enacted next April.

“I very much hope we can act on this very quickly,” Brownsberger told the State House News Service on Tuesday. “It’s a simple bill… and it’s a public safety issue. I hope we can wrap our minds around it.”

As one of its co-sponsors, Livingstone said he would support this legislation to keep the city’s streets safe.

            “Tourists come from all over the world to quickly and safely take in what the city has to offer through sight-seeing vendors,” Livingstone wrote in an e-mail. “That safety cannot be achieved without the driver’s complete focus on the road. I commend Senator Brownsberger for filing this legislation to ensure that sightseeing vehicle drivers keep all of their focus on safe driving so that patrons can keep all of their focus on the historic and unique sights of our city.

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