Illinois governor signs drunk boating bill into law

On Behalf of The Law Offices of Goldfine & Bowles, P.C.

July 25, 2013

In the summer months, chances are that many Chicago residents will pay a visit to Lake Michigan. Boating, sailing, paddleboats and simply walking along the short are examples of some of the more favorite activities around this landmark.

Given the leisurely atmosphere that surrounds these activities, it may surprise readers to learn that there were 101 boating accidents in Illinois in 2012, with 17 fatalities and 77 injured. More than 12 percent of those accidents may have been alcohol-related. 

The issue apparently got the attention of Governor Pat Quinn, who recently signed into law some legislation aimed at improving public safety on the state’s waterways. One of the new provisions requires chemical testing of any motorboat operator involved in a accident where individuals sustain serious or fatal injuries. If the testing indicates a blood alcohol content was above the legal limit, the boat operator may be penalized with a suspension of his or her driver’s license.

As a personal injury attorney might attest, drunk driving causes far too many accidents each year on the state’s roads and highways. A drunk driver often has impaired motor responses, making the safe operation of a vehicle nearly impossible, and increasing the risk of an auto accident.

When presented with the hard evidence of a drunk driver’s BAC, many juries also agree that getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is a negligent act. Now that state law has extended some drunk driving penalties to the waterways, victims injured by another’s negligence in a boating accident might have a better chance of a recovery in a personal injury lawsuit.

Source:, “Gov. Quinn signs law cracking down on boaters drinking and driving,” July 21, 2013