Boston Duck Tours claims it did not know operator’s driving history

Boston Duck Tours has released a statement regarding the driving record of an operator involved in a fatal crash over the weekend. 

"The company learned today there is a significant difference between a driver’s record – which is what the Registry of Motor Vehicles supplies to all hackney companies, and which reveals a motorist’s driving record for the previous 10 years — and a motorist’s driving history, which provides a comprehensive record going back to when the license was issued," the statement said.

State leaders dispute the company’s claim, saying they have given Duck Boat Tours the driver’s complete record for the past 10 years. "The RMV has been responsive to this employer’s previous request and has provided the appropriate information," said the Department of Transportation.

If Boston Police approve a driver for a hackney license, much like a taxi driver, that was enough for Boston Duck Boats. The driver, Victor Tavares, passed because he did not have more than four violations in the last three years. His license had also not been suspended in the last five years.

The RMV revoked Tavares’ license on Monday. "This was done as part of a standard suspension action that the RMV invokes when there is a fatality," the Department of Transportation said Monday afternoon.

In a statement, Duck Boat Tours says Tavares’ driving record was recently reviewed in March when his license was renewed. "Given the discrepancies between the information we received from the DMV and the information reported, we will be contacting the respective agencies tomorrow and we will provide any updated information."

Allison Warmuth, 29, was killed when the scooter she was driving collided with a duck boat at the intersection of Charles and Beacon streets on Saturday. Her friend, the passenger on the scooter, was injured but is expected to be OK.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the crash is under investigation but he is not ready to say that duck boats should be put in park.

The company that operates Duck Boat Tours in Boston released a statement Monday saying their drivers undergo rigorous training that lasts at least two months. "For 22 years, the people of Boston have accepted Boston Duck Tours as part of the community. We value this unique relationship and take safety very seriously."

Full statement from Duck Boat Tours:

“The company learned today there is a significant difference between a driver’s record – which is what the Registry of Motor Vehicles supplies to all hackney companies, and which reveals a motorist’s driving record for the previous 10 years – and a motorist’s driving history, which provides a comprehensive record going back to when the license was issued.  We are working with the Registry and other state officials regarding the DMV protocols, which include the entire history of all drivers.

This particular duck tour driver had an exemplary record while driving for us the past six years. Safety remains our utmost priority, as Boston Duck Tours currently operates a brand new fleet of Truck Ducks, which meet all current Coast Guard and Department of Transportation regulations. The driver involved in Saturday’s accident is currently under suspension, as part of standard operating procedure.
 

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