Gov. Quinn signs bill cracking down on drunken boating
BY MITCH DUDEK Staff Reporteremail@example.com July 21, 2013 4:04PM
Updated: August 23, 2013 6:29AM
Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill Sunday that cracks down on drunken boating.
Under the measure, anyone operating a motorboat in an accident involving serious injury or death must consent to the chemical testing of their blood, breath or urine to determine blood-alcohol or drug content. Those who refuse testing, test positive for drugs or exceed the legal blood-alcohol content limit, face suspension of their Illinois driver’s license. This law takes effect on Jan. 1.
The bill comes about a year after 10-year-old Tony Borcia was killed while tubing with his family on the Chain O’ Lakes in northern Lake County. He was hit by a speedboat piloted by David Hatyina, 51, of Bartlett, who was sentenced in June to 10 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol in the incident.
“We enact this law in Tony’s memory,” Quinn said in a statement issued Sunday after he announced the measure at the 31st Street Harbor.
Tony’s mother, Margaret Borcia, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday: “We’re trying to make the penalties stiffer so that people will think twice before drinking and driving a boat, and so tragedies like the one that killed Tony won’t happen again.”
Quinn also signed a bill aimed at overcrowded boats. It clarifies that a person being towed by a watercraft, such as a skier, tuber or parasailer, is considered part of the total number of passengers for purposes of a boat’s carrying capacity. The clarification will curb overcrowding by closing a loophole for boat operators claiming that a passenger being towed is not part of the watercraft’s overall capacity. The law takes effect immediately.
In 2012, there were 101 boating-related accidents on Illinois waters, resulting in 17 deaths and 77 injuries. Alcohol use was a contributing factor in 13 of the accidents and five of the fatalities, according to numbers released by Quinn’s office.