DUI laws now apply to drunken drivers who pilot boats and drunken boaters who operate a vehicle, if the new legislative bill is passed in Florida.
Boating under the influence would also be entered in the driver’s record, and considered as a prior offense if he later is found guilty of a DUI, according to the new bill.
According to Fort Lauderdale DUI attorneys, the fine for a second conviction is twice that of the first offense. A first time offender will pay a $1,000 fine. Nine months imprisonment and an ignition interlock device are the other penalties for second time offenders.
The highest number of boating accidents and deaths due to alcohol was in Florida, which recorded 6.7 deaths per 100,000, according to the US Coast Guard. Alcohol was the causative factor in 32 boating accidents in Florida in 2013, according to DUI attorneys.
California and Minnesota come second with 25 alcohol related fatalities in 2013 and are also considering similar laws.
Many boating accidents go unreported, according to law enforcement officials. There are instances where nobody remembers who was driving the boat or none of the passengers name the actual person who was operating the boat, according to Lt. Seth Morgan of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Boating and Waterways Section.
New bill would help prevent DUIs
Morgan, a statistician of boating accidents for the wildlife commission, supports the legislation and believes such accidents are totally preventable. The new legislation would make people be more careful about drinking before operating the boat, according to Morgan.
Florida’s laws cover all aspects of DUI
The laws in Florida take care of all aspects of DUI, according to DUI attorneys. The fines for first time offenders are between $3,700 and $12,200, while the penalties for repeat offenders can go up to $25,000. Other costs also add up for repeat offenders that includes driver improvement programmers, probation, treatment for alcohol addiction, and the installation of an interlock device.
According to Fort Lauderdale DUI attorneys, first time offenders can face imprisonment of up to 1 year. They also have to complete 50 community service hours while their license could be cancelled for up to six months. Fourth time offenders could permanently lose their license where the jail time also increases with each conviction.
People do not realize that impairment can start with the very first drink, says Judy Cotton, a program specialist at Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
A DUI can alter a person’s life, since it can cost him or her job which attorneys warn could be devastating. Furthermore, it may become difficult for DUI offenders who have been convicted to find a job, since employers are hesitant to hire such people.
Act like Mr. Rogers
It would be good to think for ten seconds before drinking and driving, says David Campbell who lost his sister in a DUI accident. Campbell says that people should think for a moment like popular children’s television personality, Mr. Rogers, and consider what the loved ones would feel.
To avoid DUI accidents, people who drink should consider using public transportation, hire a driver or be more conscious, and mindful of one’s actions, according to Sgt. Tommy Crumley, a public information officer. Remember, no one has a right to drive a boat, it is a privilege.