Summer Tragedies on Lake Lanier Compel Georgia Lawmakers to Craft Stronger BUI Laws

This US Army safety video makes the point that a boat operator under the influence of alcohol is 10 times more likely to die than a person who is sober. However, drunk boating accidents also have the potential to harm other people on the water, and a number of boating while intoxicated incidents recently compelled lawmakers in Georgia to take legislative action to improve public safety. During his State of the State address in January, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said, “If you are too drunk to drive an automobile, you are too drunk to drive a boat.”

On March 1, the Georgia Senate unanimously approved a bill to lower the state’s legal intoxication limit for boaters from 0.10 to 0.08, the same limit for operating a motor vehicle in the Peach State. Senate Bill 136 calls for two measures named after three boys killed in accidents on Lake Lanier last summer. The Jake and Griffin Prince BUI Law addresses the blood alcohol content change but would also tighten boating rules and increase the penalties for those caught boating drunk. The Kyle Glover Boat Education Law would place age limits on those who can drive boats and require children under the age of 13 to wear life jackets when they are on a moving open boat.

Alcohol is a factor in many accidents on the water around the nation, but there are also several recreational boating collisions that result from operator negligence or inexperience. Three people were injured—one person sustained a head injury and the Sand Mountain Reporter said another victim was complaining of paralysis—after two boats collided last month on Lake Guntersville in Alabama. That accident was still under investigation, but none of the initial reports indicated that alcohol as a factor.

The Boston maritime law firm of Latti & Anderson LLP is familiar with all types of accidents that occur on the water. We have over 50 years of experience helping maritime workers as well as individuals who sustain serious injuries in recreational vessels. You can find more information about recreational boating accidents by visiting our website. If you or a loved one sustained serious injuries in an accident on the water, complete the form on this page to let our Boston maritime trial lawyers review your case or contact our firm now at (800) 392-6072 to set up a free consultation.

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