Illinois Governor Quinn Signs New Boating Safety Bills Into Law

It is summer time and the boating season is full swing. If you live in Chicago you can see that Lake Michigan is filled with hundreds of boats daily. The same can be said for lakes throughout the state of Illinois. Boating safety was a priority for Illinois lawmakers in 2014 and according to the Chicago Tribune; Governor Quinn signed 3 new boating safety bills into law.

The sponsor of the bills was State Sen. Julie Morrison, a Deerfield Democrat, whose 10-year-old nephew died when a boater under the influence of alcohol and cocaine struck and killed him on Lake Petite Lake near Lake Villa on July 28, 2012. 

The bills signed Saturday both increase the powers of law enforcement and put new restrictions and requirements on boaters.

Under one of them, a persons’ watercraft can be seized after multiple DUI offenses. In a second bill, all people born after January 1998 will be forced to take a boater safety course and hold a boater safety certificate before they can operate a boat with an engine over 10 horsepower, according to Quinn’s office.

The final bill requires that any water craft that are towing a person display a bright orange flag no less than 12 inches per side.

In 2014 so far, there have been 16 boating fatalities reported on Illinois waterways. Drinking and boating is equally as dangerous as drinking and driving and the penalties for doing so should be stiff. People’s lives are at stake if a boater is driving negligently, untrained and obviously under the influence. Quite frankly, I believe the new law requiring boaters born after 1998 to take safety courses does not go far enough. Why not extend to 1993 (or anyone 21 years and under).

If you or someone you love has been injured in an Illinois boating accident or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.