A new Utah law requires boaters to stick around if they have been involved in an accident or face criminal charges.
June 01, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law a bill specifically outlawing hit-and-run boating accidents. While hit-and-run accidents generally involve cars, trucks, motorcycles or bicycles, boats can cause significant property damage, as well as injury or even death. Boats become extremely dangerous when alcohol is involved.
Rep. Richard Greenwood (R-Roy) proposed the bill following last summer's boating season in which boating accident deaths made headlines in Utah. The Utah Senate unanimously approved HB92 with a 27-0 vote.
Utah'snew boating law states that if a vessel operator "has reason to believe [he or she] may have been involved in an accident" causing property damage, personal injury or death of a person, the operator shall immediately stop the boat at the accident scene or as close as possible and stay at the scene until they have fulfilled certain requirements.
Failure to follow these requirements will result in criminal charges. If the accident merely involves property damage, the crime is a class B misdemeanor. If the accident causes death or serious bodily injury, it is a third degree felony. The offense is only a class A misdemeanor if the injury to a person is less than serious bodily injury. While other criminal charges and civil liability may arise out of the accident, there is no need to make matters worse by not stopping to check on the other injured party.
Boating Safety Tips
The Recreational Boating Industry provides the following safety tips for new and even experienced boaters:
- Be weather-wise: check local weather conditions before departure; get off the water if you see darkening clouds, rough winds or temperature drop
- Follow a pre-departure checklist: be prepared for any possibility
- Make proper use of lifejackets: most drowning victims in boating accidents were not wearing lifejackets
- Avoid alcohol: the probability of a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved
- Consider a free vessel safety check: provided by a U.S. Coast Guard specialist
By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your next boating adventure is both safe and fun. Making safety a priority will prevent you from even having to worry about Utah's new boating hit-and-run crime.
If you have been involved in a boating accident contact an experienced attorney who understands your rights and the seriousness of your accident.
Article provided by Eisenberg & Gilchrist
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