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New Illinois Law Cracks Down on Drunk Boat Drivers

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CHICAGO (KMOX/IRN) – Summer means fun on the water, but mixing that with alcohol can result in tragedy.

The Borcia family of Libertyville, Ill. knows this all too well.

“One year ago, Tony Borcia and his family were enjoying a day out on the lake, tubing behind a pontoon boat. Suddenly a large speedboat piloted by a man impaired by alcohol and drugs bore down on Tony, resulting in this fatal tragedy. We enact this law in Tony’s memory,” Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said. “Tony Borcia could have been anyone’s son, brother, grandson or nephew. People enjoying our magnificent waterways shouldn’t have to worry about reckless, drunken boaters when they’re out tubing, swimming or paddling.”

State Senator Julie Morrison is Tony’s aunt and chief sponsor of the legislation.

“Drinking and boating is every bit as dangerous as drinking and driving,” Morrison said, “I hope this law will make everyone operating a boat think twice before consuming alcohol.”

The law ensures that anyone operating a motorboat involved in an accident involving serious injury or death must consent to testing to determine blood alcohol or drug content. Boaters who refuse testing, test positive for drugs or exceed the legal blood alcohol content limit, face suspension of their Illinois driver’s license.

Morrison’s nephew was one of 17 Illinoisans killed in boating-related accidents last year.

Quinn signed the new law on July 21st. It goes into effect January 1, 2014.

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