Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed a law aimed at reducing the number of people who operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Starting January 1, anyone who operates a motorboat who is involved in an accident involving serious injury or death must consent to a blood, breath or urine test to determine whether they have drugs or alcohol in their blood.
People who refuse testing, who test positive for drugs, or who exceed the legal blood-alcohol content limit, face suspension of their driver license, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Last year, alcohol was a contributing factor in 13 of the 101 boating-related accidents on Illinois waters, and five of the 17 resulting deaths.
Governor Quinn dedicated the law to 10-year-old Tony Borcia, who was killed while tubing with his family. He was hit by a speedboat piloted by David Hatyina, who pleaded guilty to operating the boat under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Illinois State Senator Julie A. Morrison, Tony Borcia’s aunt, and chief sponsor of the legislation, said in a news release, “Drinking and boating is every bit as dangerous as drinking and driving. I hope this law will make everyone operating a boat think twice before consuming alcohol.”