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Lawmakers hope to strengthen laws regarding drunk boating

Many in South Carolina remember the tragic death of a 19-year-old woman who lost her life in a boating accident last summer. The case led to a great deal of debate within the state concerning laws that govern drunk boating, as well as other activities on the state's waterways what can be impacted by impairment. Now, lawmakers are poised to request a closer look at  the matter and perhaps lead to legislative changes that could make it easier to charge and convict individuals who take to the water after drinking.

The case that sparked the issue began when the 19-year-old woman was struck by a jet ski that was under the control of a 26-year-old male. Court records show that a man has been charged with reckless homicide by operation of a boat in the matter. The newly proposed resolution asks the Department of Natural Resources to evaluate South Carolina's existing regulations that govern boating safety.

The results of that inquiry will be reported back to lawmakers, who will then further consider how to increase the safety of the state's waterways. The mother of the young woman would like to see legislation passed that would require anyone involved in a fatal boating accident to undergo breath analysis. No such requirement exists currently.

This is a matter of concern to many in South Carolina, and everyone wants to ensure that the waterways are a place where families can enjoy safe recreation and relaxation. There have been approximately 215 fatalities resulting from recreational boating within the state between the years of 2001 and 2014. Should the recently proposed resolution lead to legislative changes, drunk boating could become a far more serious offense than the current laws might suggest.

Source: thestate.com, "Deaths of 2 young women spur proposals on SC waterway safety", Susanne M. Schafer, Jan. 31, 2015

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