DUI causes serious injury in boating accidents

Thousands of water enthusiasts will be heading to the lake this summer as boating season is in full-swing. What they may not realize is that it is illegal in most states to operate a motor boat with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in an article published today in the USA Today paper, operating a motor boat under the influence of alcohol is the leading factor in boating accidents. In 2010 alone, there were 126 deaths and 293 injuries which occurred in an estimated 330 boating accidents.

Although drivers may not realize it, boating while under the influence of alcohol is just as dangerous as operating a car while intoxicated. “You’re in a 1-ton vehicle, but this vehicle doesn’t have brakes, and there’s no lane of traffic or stop sign to direct you,” stated Lt. Cody Jones, a game warden for the marine enforcement section of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The skills needed to operate a boat are similar to a car including: hand eye coordination, multi-tasking, and awareness of other boats. The articles also notes that unlike drivers of automobiles a motor boat operator must also contend with additional factors which can affect their safety including “heat, direct sunlight, vibration, wind and noise.”

Boating can be a great way to beat the heat and have some summer fun, but it must be done safely and drivers must not “drink and drive”. Although excessive speed, inattention, inexperience and improper lookout may all contribute to accidents on the water, excessive drinking can cause the most dangerous boating conditions.

Combating DUI Accidents on the water

According to USA Today and information provided by the United States Coast Guard, states are doing more now than ever to combat boating under the influence of alcohol. For example, in Kentucky the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is trying to establish a marine field sobriety test that gives boating officers more flexibility to test boater’s BAC or blood alcohol concentration while they are seated in the boat.

North Carolina has initiated a new campaign by police officers to encourage and enforce efforts to crack down on DUI on and off the water. Oklahoma and Iowa are working to lower the legal limit for a boat driver’s blood alcohol concentration level from .10% to 0.8%.

New York is working to pass legislation which allows boaters who have previously been convicted of a DUI while driving a car to no longer be considered “first time offenders”. This change could substantially increase the penalties for DUI offenders.

Hiring a DUI Lawyer

Whether you have been arrested for DUI while boating or operating a motorized vehicle, you will need the legal expertise of a DUI attorney. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense that can have severe DUI penalties.

As mentioned above, legislatures and state governments are under pressure to lower the incidence of DUI. Severe penalties for a DUI conviction can include: high fines and penalties, high insurance costs, probation, jail time, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device or attendance in an alcohol education course.

Do not leave your future to chance. Find a DUI lawyer today.

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Beth

Beth L. is a content developer for LeadRival, a cutting edge company that helps connect DUI lawyers with DUI clients. Beth L. writes about a variety of DUI topics to help drivers who have been arrested for DUI, getting them the legal help they need.

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