Proposed Bill Would Toughen Recreational Watercraft DUI Penalties
It hasn't made it to committee yet, but several Tri-City area state legislators have introduced a bill that would make DUI and other 'crimes' committed while driving a boat or jet ski tougher. Rep. Brad Kilppert (8th District Benton County) is the sponsor.
House Bill (HB) 2431 redefines DUI and other penalties and makes it tougher on people who 'boat' while intoxicated.
The bill states anyone who registers .08 alcohol levels up to two hours AFTER operating such vehicle (and committing an infraction or issue), or a THC (pot) concentration of 5.0 two hours later of such an event will be considered legally impaired. It adds more provisions for testing suspects, streamlining the process.
It also adds and redefines prescription or controlled medications and medical marijuana to the penalty list, as is found with vehicles. From the bill itself:
"The fact that any person charged with a violation of this section is or has been entitled to use such drug under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this section."
It also bumps up the penalty phase if an impaired person causes a fatality in operating a watercraft, it would be classified as a homicide. Additional sponsors, most from districts who have large water recreation areas, say watercraft DUI and impairment is a growing issue that's not receiving the same attention as the state's Target Zero driving program, aimed at reducing impaired fatalities.
To see the bill for yourself, click on the button below.