Ride the Ducks faces higher state penalty for fatal crash, but still not the maximum
The penalty that Ride the Ducks of Seattle faces over a fatal crash just went up.
The company had already agreed to a proposed $220,000 settlement with the state. But the Utilities and Transportation Commission decided that wasn't enough. It's proposing $308,000.
A Ride the Ducks tour vehicle crashed on the Aurora Bridge last year, killing five international students. The investigation that followed showed 463 violations -- including 159 critical to public safety.
The transportation commission says a bigger penalty is needed because Ride the Ducks showed an insufficient approach to public safety. Even so, the commission isn't charging as much as it could have, a maximum of $460,000.
Commission spokesperson Amanda Maxwell says some problems, like poor record-keeping, earned lower penalties.
Maxwell: "When issuing penalties we really have to balance the threats to public safety with the number of violations that we found, and there is a matrix that they use to determine penalty amounts. So they imposed the maximum for the critical violations."
The company has five days to formally agree. A Ride the Ducks attorney said in a statement he's satisfied with the new settlement.
The company and city of Seattle also face private lawsuits from survivors of the crash.