Drunk boating could mean restrictions on the road


If someone is in a boat accident and caught drinking and operating that boat, it could be an incident that takes him off the road. Lawmakers proposed a plan that could mean suspension of a boat operator's driver's license.

Operating under the influence: It's a charge that can drive you off the water.

"You can lose your driver's license up to a year of boating operation," explained Joe Nihiser Decatur Lake maintenance supervisor. "It doesn't not affect the driving record at this time."

But soon it may drive you off the roads because if a boat operator grabs a drink, gets behind the wheel and gets into an accident, and that could mean your drivers license is suspended.

"Your balance is off already with the water level but then if you've been under the influence, naturally you could be that much more unbalanced and it could affect your life quite a bit losing your driver's license," Nihiser said.

Last year in Illinois, there were 209 operating under the influence arrests. Nihiser said he has maybe one or two incidents a year but he said it could be an issue at larger lakes.

"I think when we first came down to the lake it was a problem," said Keith Geitner. He has kept his boat clean at Lake Shelbyville for six years.

"Today, I think the lake is really quiet actually," he said.  "I really wouldn't say it's an issue certainly no more than any river or lake in the country."

It is a bill though that's been sent to the governor's desk.

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