Published Sunday, January 20, 2013

'If you are too drunk to drive automobile, you are too drunk to drive boat'

Editorial

Gov. Nathan Deal is pushing Georgia lawmakers to pass tougher boating safety laws. Last year, tragic boating accidents on Lake Lanier in North Georgia brought public attention to boating dangers. In one accident two young boys drowned when two boats collided. In too many boating accidents alcohol has been involved.

On Thursday, during his State of the State address to lawmakers, Deal urged lawmakers to approve tighter boating laws.

One proposal would lower the blood alcohol threshold for boating under the influence to .08, the same threshold that exists in our state for driving under the influence. Currently the blood alcohol threshold for boating is a higher .10.

This seems like a no-brainer. We agree with the governor: “If you are too drunk to drive an automobile, you are too drunk to drive a boat.”

We hope lawmakers act decisively to pass this proposal and make it law before we get too far into the 2013 boating season.

This new blood alcohol level will help reduce boating under the influence, but it won’t solve the problem. Almost all of the lakes in the state do not have enough enforcement officers available to adequately patrol the lakes.

Even if the new limits are passed, it’s incumbent for boaters to use good common sense when on the water. Boaters must patrol themselves. Alcohol and operating a boat don’t mix, just like alcohol and operating a vehicle on our roadways don’t mix. That, too, is a no-brainer.

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