Deadly Duck Boat Crash Prompts Concerns Over Commercial Licenses

City and state leaders are calling for major changes to the licensing and reporting process for commercial drivers in Massachusetts after Saturday's fatal duck boat accident in Boston.

"If we have to do a major overhaul and look at the situation, look at the system, then we have to do that," said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Much of the focus of the investigation has been on the driving history of duck boat driver Victor Tavares and what access Boston Duck Tours may or may not have had to his full record.

"There's no reason why somebody who has that type of driving record should be behind the wheel transporting people around the city of Boston," Walsh said.

"There is a big hole in the safety net that protects the public against bad drivers," said former Massachusetts Inspector General Greg Sullivan, who now works for the Pioneer Institute.

Sullivan says it raises larger questions about whether enough information about driving records is being transmitted to the agencies that would have provided the four licenses Tavares was required to carry as a duck boat driver.

"It is a stunning revelation to realize that the duck boat operator has not had access to the full driver record," said Sullivan.

But the RMV maintains its 10-year snapshots of Victor Tavares's driving record would have shown the majority of his driving history, dating back to 1999.

That includes seven speeding tickets, two suspensions and a surchargeable accident.

Gov. Charlie Baker says regardless of what the Boston Duck Tours knew when, the state could do a better job providing information.

"I think we should consider going from the ten year piece to just giving people everything we have," Baker said.

"Unfortunately, a tragedy is needed to bring about the reform but hopefully it will save someone else's life in the future," said Sullivan.

This accident remains under investigation to determine what happened and if anyone will be held criminally responsible.

Boston Duck Tours has yet to clarify exactly what it received on Tavares's driving history.

The company says it does review all of its drivers' driving records and driving histories annually, but it has not said whether it is re-reviewing these records to make sure it has complete driving histories for all of its drivers in light of the discrepancies highlighted in the wake of this accident.

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