Seattle's duck boat company to pay up to $1M for violations

SEATTLE -- Ride the Ducks International has agreed to pay up to $1 million in civil penalties under a consent order reached with federal transportation officials.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tuesday that the Branson, Missouri, manufacturer of the duck boats violated motor vehicle safety laws when it failed to initiate a full safety recall.

One of the vehicles the company manufactured and sold was involved in a crash on Seattle's Aurora Bridge in 2015 that killed five college students.

A NHTSA investigation found that vehicle had a defect noted by Ride the Ducks International in 2013 but that the company did not issue a safety recall as required.

The company says in a statement that safety is a priority and it's working to prevent another tragedy.

The company will pay $480,000 in penalties and another $20,000 to ensure compliance. It would also have to pay up to $500,000 in additional fines if it continues to violate federal motor vehicle safety laws or the consent order.