Posted by Edmond Geary | Posted in Boating under the influence, DUI | Posted on 28-07-2011
Driving a car or other vehicle on the streets while under the influence of alcohol or any intoxicating drug has been unlawful for decades. It began as “drunk driving,” developed into “driving under the influence” and now includes even “driving while impaired.” But all of those levels of intoxication required the driver to be in operation of a motorized vehicle on the public roadways. Now, for the last 15 years in Oklahoma, it has been unlawful to operate a boat while under the influence.
The number of boat wrecks where the operator was intoxicated or suspected to be intoxicated a (often a significant difference) does not approach the number involving cars. Nevertheless, the number of injuries from alcohol-influenced boat operators has increased. The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety claims there have been more than 100 accidents in the last 8 years that were “alcohol or drug related.” That “related” term includes some unprovable cases, as it always does with law enforcement, where the connection is “suspected.” But proof in the courtroom is not required in show public safety officials there is a problem.
Title 63, Oklahoma Statutes, Section 4210.8 (Supp: 2011) prohibits operation of a boat or other vessel on the waters in Oklahoma, except privately-owned waters. The criterion for being “under the influence of alcohol” is the presence of .08% alcohol concentration by grams of alcohol per 210 milliliters of the person’s blood. That standard for boaters was 10.0 % until just changed by the legislature, following the path of the alcohol percentage standard applied to drivers of cars. This change to .08% from 10.0% for boat drivers changed just last year after about 10 years at the .10% level.