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Drinking and Boating Can Have Serious Consequences

Drinking and driving is a common problem across the country that causes thousands of car crashes each year. However, a problem that most people are unaware about is the dangers of drinking and boating. It seems almost natural for boaters to drink while enjoying their time out on the water. Nonetheless, the boat’s driver must still operate a large motorized vehicle, which comes with many inherent dangers. When you add intoxication to this mix, you increase the risk of danger to yourself, your passengers, and any other boat in the vicinity. This can lead to serious accidents that may cause injuries, and in the worst cases, death.

The West Palm Beach TV station, NBC 5, recently reported on the ongoing investigation and trial, regarding a boat crash in September of 2016. The driver, Thomas Baker,  crashed the vessel into the shore and overturned it, after having several long island iced teas. Although the driver was the individual who reported the accident, the police decided to change the accident investigation into a criminal investigation due to Baker’s level of intoxication after the crash. In recent months, Baker has filed a lawsuit against the Town of Palm Beach, under the premise that he was not aware that the investigation had become criminal, and the police failed to read him his Miranda rights at the time of the crash. However, a federal judge recently dropped this case as Baker was not the owner of the boat he was driving. Baker’s case will go to trial in March of 2018 to determine the cause of the crash and what penalties he may receive as a consequence.

In the case of Thomas Baker’s accident, thankfully, no one was injured, and only the boat he was driving was damaged. However, had Baker been in open water or near other people or boats and lost control of his vehicle, he could have caused serious harm to himself and others. While it does seem reasonable for Baker to be upset at the direction his case has taken, he is also fully deserving of this investigation as he was boating while intoxicated. Many people do not seem to take the dangers of boating under the influence very seriously because they believe that they can do so safely. This is the same logic, however, that many intoxicated drivers use, and it often results in serious accidents. Careless boaters, like Baker, must understand the danger that they put themselves and others in when they choose to drink and boat.

Although no one was injured in Thomas Baker’s boat crash, many other accidents of this sort have a grave impact on other people. They can cause physical harm, emotional pain, and financial loss, depending on the severity of the accident. Fortunately for individuals who are hurt by drunken boaters, a West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer can help them recover from these losses. They can receive compensation for any of the damages caused by these boaters and begin to recover from this tragic accident.

 

The Dram Shop Act: Making Irresponsible Hosts and Business Establishments Equally Accountable for Alcohol-related Accidents, Injuries and Deaths

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) records show that in 2013, more than 1.1 million alcohol-impaired drivers were arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). During the previous year, a study revealed that the number of those who drove while under the influence of alcohol was 29.1 million. Drunk driving is a major in the U.S. and in all the other parts of the world. This is despite the continuous education and warnings to drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving. Thus, since the early part of the 1900s up to this time, many people drive while impaired and a lot of those who do this cause accidents where they injure or kill not only innocent people on the road (other motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists) but also themselves.

Stricter anti-drunk driving laws today do not just require apprehension of adult drivers (aged 21 years old or above) whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is 0.08% or above, but also of teen drivers (those below 21 years old) if any alcohol is ever traced in their blood or breath.

As explained by West Palm Beach car accident lawyers, once a driver reaches the legal limit of consumption, critical motor functions become impaired and the driver is thus unable to safely operate his/her vehicle to the best of his or her abilities. Thus, besides arresting alcohol-impaired drivers themselves, business establishments and certain individuals can now be held answerable too for certain accidents that are alcohol-related. The legal responsibility of business establishments and certain individuals is rooted on the stipulations of the Dram Shop Act. According to the law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®, the Dram Shop Act is a law which can make a host or a business establishment (including a restaurant, a bar, or a tavern where alcoholic drinks are sold) accountable for any injuries or damages an intoxicated person causes, but only if such host or establishment still offers or sells alcoholic drinks to such person who is already intoxicated. Civil liability extends to anyone the intoxicated person injures or kills.

Currently, the states of Delaware, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, and
Virginia do not have dram shop liability.