Georgia's state legislature had a busy season, passing a large number of bills before the session closed March 28. Among those is the bill SB 136, which lowers the blood alcohol limit for people operating boats in Georgia – a move celebrated by many as a victory for safety, but which — Atlanta DUI attorney Thomas Rowsey warns will mean sharper enforcement to recreational boaters.
Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol, like driving a car under the influence, was already a crime in the state of Georgia but the bill, if signed into law, will tighten the restrictions. Previously a boat pilot with more than 0.10% alcohol in their blood was considered to be DUI, but now the limit will be 0.08%.
Rowsey warns that for many people that limit could be reached with just one to two drinks prior to boating. “Most recreational boaters and fishermen enjoy a beer or two at the lake,” Rowsey said. “While drunk boating can be lethal, bear in mind that this new law won't just penalize drinking to excess. It's saying that whoever captains the boat better be dry.”
Although the bill has not yet been signed into law, it was part of Governor Deal's legislative agenda and is following lethal 2012 boating accidents involving alcohol. Those accidents caused the deaths of three children on Lake Lanier, one of which was the son of famous singer Usher.
Rowsey says that even drinking an hour before boating can leave enough alcohol in the system to trigger a breathalyzer or blood test. “Such a low BAC [blood alcohol content] limit is easy to reach and I would expect tougher enforcement,” Rowsey said. “It's best to designate a sober captain each time you go out.”
About Thomas C. Rowsey:
Thomas C. Rowsey is a criminal defense and personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience and a strong track record of success. Tom focuses on defending those arrested for drunk driving and helping them achieve the best possible outcome in and out of court.
Name: Thomas C. Rowsey
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