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State Senate to consider new duck boat safety regulations

Investigators reviewed the scene of the April 30 crash in which a woman riding a scooter was struck and killed by a duck boat.
Investigators reviewed the scene of the April 30 crash in which a woman riding a scooter was struck and killed by a duck boat.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/File/Globe Staff

State lawmakers are proposing new regulations for duck boats after a sightseeing vehicle crash resulted in the death of a 28-year-old woman near Boston Common last month.

The parents of Allison Warmuth, who died in the April 30 accident, will speak at a Wednesday press conference on the bill. The legislation would require some sightseeing vehicles to to be equipped with blind spot cameras and would bar vehicle operators from simultaneously driving and narrating tours.

Warmuth was stopped on her motor scooter when the red light changed, and the duck boat behind her moved forward. Warmouth tried to accelerate and move away but was unable to do so.

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“I think the tragic accident that affected Allison Warmuth is something that really begs for a response and exposes some real risks in the operation of the duck boats in particular,” said William Brownsberger, chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee and the bill’s co-sponsor.

The legislation would require vehicles designed to operate both on land and in the water — like duck boats — to contain blindspot cameras and sensors that would indicate when another car or motorcycle is nearby.

Additionally, the bill would mandate that, “No person, when operating a sight-seeing vehicle, shall at the same time provide a guide service, narrate history, identify landmarks, sights or otherwise provide entertainment or information.”

“There is a distracting element to the single operator trying to interact with both the road and the people,” Brownsberger said.

If the legislation passed, it would go into effect in April 2017.

Brownsberger said he began considering legislation after speaking with Warmuth’s parents.

“I was convinced this was something that merited quick action,” he said.

Other cities around the country have also recently grappled with the safety of amphibious motor vehicles. Last fall, in Seattle, a duck boat collided with a bus, resulting in several deaths and dozens of injuries.

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Meg Bernhard can be reached at meg.bernhard@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @meg_bernhard.