The company only owes $500,000 to start but might need to pay the other half if there are further violations.
In the wake of a fatal crash in September 2015, Ride the Ducks International has agreed to a consent order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that could result in up to $1 million in fines. The Feds found the company’s amphibious vehicles in violation of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.
The settlement was prompted after one of Ride the Ducks’ Stretch Duck amphibious vehicles broke an axle and crashed into a tour bus on a bridge in Seattle, Washington. The incident killed five people and caused many injuries. The state eventually fined the company $308,000 for safety lapses, and the firm agreed to no longer use the model there, according to The Seattle Times. Truck Ducks, a different vehicle from the maker, remain in operation in the city.
Under the consent order with NHTSA, Ride the Ducks must pay $480,000 in civil penalties and $20,000 on completing the government’s safety requests, including hiring an consultant to bring the firm into compliance with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Future violations could result in the company owing another $500,000 to the Feds.
While Ride the Ducks’ uses former military vehicles for the basis of its amphibious models, NHTSA still considers the firm an automaker. Therefore, the business needs to publicly file defect information and conduct the necessary recalls. The government agency found that the company sent a bulletin to licensors about an issue with the front axle but didn’t officially recall the components. According to The Seattle Times, Ride the Ducks of Seattle never made the repairs.
As part of the consent order, Ride the Ducks now issued a recall on the axle housing because of a potential for fracturing near the knuckle ball. Operators and licensors of the vehicles will strengthen the connection at this point.
Source: The Seattle Times, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration