Wednesday, March 20, 2013
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Gwinnett Daily Post
ATLANTA -- Lawmakers approved the lowering of boating under the influence levels Wednesday, a change brought about in honor of Suwanee boys Griffin and Jake Prince.
The proposal, named after the boys killed after their pontoon boat was struck by a suspected drunk boater last summer, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 146-17. It would lower the BUI level from 0.10 blood alcohol contect to match the driving under the influence level of 0.08.
Another portion of the bill was named in honor of Kile Glover, the stepson of entertainer Usher Raymond, who was killed last summer after being struck by a personal watercraft while riding on a tube on Lanier. It would require boaters under then age of 15 to take a free boater's education course, offered online by the Department of Natural Resources, and require anyone who rents a boat to view a 12-minute safety video.
"We have a responsibility to look at these current laws and tighten them so we can give the best protection to those who wish to recreate," Rep. Chad Nimmer, the governor's floor leader, said as he introduced the proposal. He said alcohol is a contributing factor in half of all boating fatalities across the nation. "It's to reduce the number of fatalities we have in this state when people take to the waterways."
As another safety measure, the bill requires a child 12 and under to wear a life jacket while a motorized boat is in motion and updates the state's navigation lights rules to Coast Guard recommendations. It also would lower the hunting under the influence level to match DUI levels of 0.08
"I'm going to ask you to think about the families of those we are naming this bill after," Nimmer said when asking House members to vote in favor of the bill.While the Senate has already passed the proposal, House and Senate must agree on a version of the bill before Gov. Nathan Deal signs it into law. Deal, who is from Gainesville, has lead the effort to increase boater safety in the past year.