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This summer, beware of drunk boaters in Illinois

Illinois residents look forward to getting out on the water to fish, water ski or just enjoy the summer weather. However, because boating is seen primarily as a way to relax and just have fun, it can be easy to forget that operating a boat is a responsibility that must be taken seriously. 

While boating laws may seem to be a little more lax than those regarding cars and trucks, the fact remains that there are strict rules that dictate how a boat should be operated to avoid accidents. For instance, even though a boater can drink on a watercraft, it is illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher in Illinois.

Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs can have catastrophic consequences. Boaters can lose control of their boat -- especially if they aren't seasoned operators -- or crash into other boats and people. Drivers who have impaired judgment or critical thinking skills can make reckless decisions like driving too fast or too closely to other objects. They can turn too sharply and people can get ejected from the boat.

These are all very serious risks that boaters take when they have too much to drink and still decide to drive their boats. Not only are they putting their own lives in danger, they are also putting in danger the lives of every other person who is out on the water. This includes the people sitting on a dock, kids being towed behind a boat on a tube and anyone who has jumped in the water to cool off.

In the event that you or a loved one is injured in a boating accident, it can be crucial to determine if alcohol or other substance played a role in the crash. If so, it can be possible for you to take legal action against a negligent or reckless driver in the pursuit of compensation. Drunk boating can be just as deadly as drunk driving, and offending parties can and should be held accountable.

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