Our Illinois boat accident lawyers were taken aback upon reading a recent article in The Southern Illinoisan. Illinois, claims the United States Coast Guard, is host to the second most alcohol related boating fatalities in the nation. Wisconsin has the most of such fatalities.
This status is a result of the recent rise in Illinois alcohol-related boating fatalities over the past five years. In 2011, nine people died in such accidents, which is the highest amount of boating accident fatalities in Illinois since 2004. Thirteen more people were injured in nearly eighteen different alcohol-linked boating accidents. A captain at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources claims that alcohol plays “a part in almost all of our accidents.”
Unfortunately, the relevant authorities have their hands tied. Due to budget cuts, the conservation police ranks have been cut by nearly a third, falling from 180 to 125 officers. This reduction in police worries our Illinois boating accident attorneys, since the likelihood that accidents are promptly and correctly attended to will surely decrease. The laws are put in place for a reason, and the lack of enforcement may pose potential harm to many responsible boaters.
This is especially true in the Chain O’Lakes, where more than a dozen bodies of water connect multiple counties. It is here that weekend boaters come out and relax on the waterways in fairly dense proportions, often linking their boats and creating floating vessel “islands.” In this relaxing environment, there is usually alcohol consumption.
However, alcohol consumption on boats is different than it is in normal conditions. Because of the sun, boaters are often more fatigued and dehydrated, which amps up the effect of the alcohol on their bodies. The legal BAC is the same for boaters as it is for traditional motorists though.
In these conditions, boating accidents can and do happen, and have been doing so at an increasing rate. Remember to follow boating laws, and be cautious of others who are being negligent. Should you or a loved one be injured or killed due to the negligence of another boater, you can contact our Illinois boating accident lawyers to find out what rights may be available to you.