BOATING ACCIDENTS SPARK CONCERN OVER LAKE LANIER SAFETY
Georgia’s Lake Lanier has seen a string of terrible accidents this summer. In June, a 13-year old boy and his 9-year old brother were killed when a drunk boater crashed into their pontoon. In early July, the 11-year-old stepson of pop singer Usher was rendered brain-dead after his inner tube was hit by a Jet Ski. The boy’s 15-year-old friend was seriously injured, but survived.
Sadly, if history is any guide, there will be many more boating accidents on Lake Lanier before the season is over. Last year, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources counted at least 28 accidents on the lake that either involved a drunk boater or resulted in serious injuries.
The accidents have caused lake-goers and law enforcement officials alike to wonder whether Lake Lanier is still a safe destination for the estimated 7.5 million visitors it draws each year.
Lawmakers Considering New Safety Measures
A combination of inexperience and alcohol may be the biggest threat to safety at Lake Lanier.
Unlike automobile drivers, Georgia boat operators are not required to get a license or pass a skills test. As a result, many head out on the water without a complete understanding of how to safely operate their vessel. When an emergency situation arises, they don’t know how to react.
Drinking only makes the problems worse. Even though intoxicated boating is just as dangerous as drunk driving, too many people see drinking alcohol as a prerequisite to having a fun day at the lake.
Georgia lawmakers are considering a number of strategies to improve safety at Lake Lanier. Some of the ideas include imposing speed limits in some areas of the lake, adding no-wake zones and requiring boats to have headlights. There is also a proposal to reduce the legal limit for boating while intoxicated from 0.10 to 0.08.
Georgia Boat Accident Lawsuits
Every Georgia boater has a legal duty to understand their own limitations and to operate their vessel in a way that keeps others safe from harm. Inexperience and inattention are no excuse for causing an accident.
Georgians who are injured at the hands of a negligent boat operator have a right to seek compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, an Atlanta personal injury attorney can help you understand your options.