Just in time for SeaFair, the Washington State legislature has been toughening penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) and new laws were recently enacted. In May, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill which would increase the penalties for boating under the influence (BUI). The new law goes into effect on July 28th.
The law has been changed to increase the penalty for BUI to a gross misdemeanor. Those conflicted face a five of up to $5,000 and a year in jail. The previous penalty was a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to 90 days.
The BUI law also finds provides that boat drivers, like vehicle drivers , fall under implied consent laws which requires boaters to submit to a blood, breath or urine testing if police suspect them of boating under the influence. Failing to submit to a test can result in an automatic suspension of a boating license and result in a $1,000 fine.
Alcohol a Factor in Many Boating Accidents
There are many causes or factors that influence boating accidents. The one factor that is absolutely avoidable is driving a boat while under the influence. In more than 30% of all reported boating accidents, boating under the influence was a factor. Alcohol slows a boat operator’s reflexes and can cause them to make poor decisions
Wrongful Death after a Boating Accident
If a person is seriously injured or if a person is killed as the result of a another person operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the person may be charged with a felony. In addition, the injured person, or the family of the deceased may bring a civil claim against the person to compensate them for their losses.
Avoiding Boating Accidents
As in any accident, not all boating accidents are avoidable. But there are things that every boat operator can do to decrease the chances of being involved in an accident:
- Take a boating safety course
- Make sure everyone on the boat understands boating safety
- Make sure everyone on the boat is wearing a life vest
- Avoid being out in the boat during severe weather.
- Practice boating with an experienced boater before going out on your own
- Avoid drinking and boating
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in boating accidents and the family of those who have been killed. Contact us today for a free case consultation.
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