Florida drivers have repeatedly been warned about the dangers of Florida drunk driving accidents. There are in fact many laws in place to prevent such accidents from taking place: among them, a law that makes it illegal to drive in Florida with an open liquor container. Boaters, however, are also vulnerable to operating under the influence. However, the laws affecting boaters are different. In Florida, boaters are allowed to drink and to have open containers of alcohol. However, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Authorities in Florida want to raise awareness about boating under the influence (BUI), which can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, impairment in a boat can be just as dangerous as impairment in a car, but many people do not see the two as the same. While the work of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and other organizations have raised awareness about the dangers of DUI, authorities claim that work still needs to be done to raise awareness about the dangers of BUI.
The problem is especially a big concern in Florida, which has the most registered boats in the US – and the largest number of boating accidents. According to National Association of Boating Law Administrators, Florida boat accidents and BUI incidents increase during the summer, especially near holiday weekends. Florida has taken steps to reduce the number of fatal Florida boating accidents. For example, local and Florida authorities are working with federal authorities this summer to patrol Florida’s water ways. Authorities have also reported plans for plenty of routine safety inspections on Florida’s waters this year, especially near holidays.
According to authorities, if a boater in Florida is found to be operating a boat while intoxicated, the boat can be impounded and the boater can be charged. The boater can face jail time, fines, and even the permanent loss of boating privileges. The Coast Guard has developed a set of standards to help authorities test boaters for inebriation. This allows authorities to test boaters without the boaters having to stand or perform the tests which are routine in a suspected DUI test. The Coast Guard standards are intended to help authorities determine whether a boat operator likely has a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more.
In Florida and across the US, BUI is a serious problem. According to some authorities, drugs and alcohol are a factor in about one quarter of fatal boating accidents. Just like driving drunk, boating drunk can delay response times and can lead to sleepiness or vision impairment. Worse, authorities point out that the wind, sun, and water can actually intensify the effects of alcohol in a boat.
If you have been in a Florida boating accident that may have been caused by BUI, contact the Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation to discuss your case. After a boating accident, you may face a long recovery time – – you should not have to face financial uncertainty as well. The Flaxman Law Group has decades of experience and thousands of South Florida personal injury cases successfully completed. With offices in Hollywood, Homestead, and Miami, the Flaxman Law group is poised to help you after your South Florida boat accident.