OKLAHOMA CITY -- With the signing of Senate Bill 324 Tuesday, boat owners will need to be more cautious of how much they drink on the water. The new law, which went into effect when signed, holds drivers of boats to the same standard as drivers on the road when it comes to drinking and driving.
"Oklahomans love boating and spending time at the lake, which is clear by the fact that we have over 200,000 boats registered in our state," said Brown, R-Broken Arrow. "Our job as legislators is to help protect the safety of our citizens, and this new law will ensure our waters are as safe as our roadways."
SB 324 lowers the legal blood alcohol concentration for boating under the influence (BUI) from .10 to .08. the same as for driving under the influence (DUI). The new law also includes an implied consent provision meaning anyone who operates a vessel on state waters is legally required to take blood or breath testing to determine alcohol concentration if a law enforcement officer requests it.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Legislative Liaison Major Rusty Rhoades said the measure will help make Oklahoma waters safer and warned with Memorial weekend, one of the most popular boating weekends, approaching, lake patrolmen will be out enforcing the new law.
"The use of alcohol and other intoxicating substances is the leading cause of fatal boating accidents, but by strengthening the BUI law we can help decrease the number of future boating accidents and deaths," said Rhoades. "With Memorial Day weekend and the end of the school year approaching, families are going to be flocking to the lake. We want to remind people to drink responsibly, and just as any other time, always have a designated driver on the water."