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New Laws to Improve Illinois Boating Safety

November 7th, 2013 at 1:00 pm

boatSenator Julie Morrison has sponsored a bill, which along with other measures will make waterways safer next year.  For Morrison, this bill is personal.  In 2012, her nephew, 10 year old Anthony Borcia was killed after falling off a tube on Petite Lake in Northern Illinois.  Morrison stated that “for me, this law is about turning a personal tragedy into an opportunity to protect other people.  Last summer, my nephew was killed by a boater under the influence of drugs and alcohol.  I’m doing everything I can to keep other families from experiencing our loss.”

The person responsible for Tony’s death was David Hatyina.  He was sentenced to ten years in jail after pleading guilty to operating a motorboat while under the influence of alcohol and cocaine.  His blood alcohol level while operating his boat was between .09 and .12, which is over the legal limit.

One measure that was signed into law would make the penalties harsher for people who operate boats under the influence.  If convicted of this crime, offenders would have their driver’s license suspended for three months.  It also requires boaters who are involved in boat accidents to submit to a breathalyzer or other chemical blood alcohol test.  This is how implied consent works when a driver is suspected of DUI.

The other measure would require certification before certain people can operate a watercraft.  People who were born on or after the first day of 1990 would need to complete a boat operation safety course and also receive certification from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  Without this new law, only kids from the ages of 12 and 18 need to be certified unless they are driving a boat with their parent or 18 year old guardian.  The last bill would require boats who are towing a person to show an orange flag as a warning to other boaters.

Morrison also stated that “people need to know that drinking and boating is every bit as serious as drinking and driving.  I hope that requiring blood alcohol tests in the case of serious boating accidents will make some people think twice before they crack open a beer while they are operating a boat.”  If you have been operating any vehicle and pulled over for suspicion of DUI, you need help.  Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Rolling Meadows who can handle your case.

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