Illinois increases boat accident penalties

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Under legislation signed into law on July 12, those who leave the scene of a boating accident can expect to receive more serious penalties than in the past, according to a recent article in the Pioneer Press.

Now, leaving the scene of a boat accident is a Class A misdemeanor. If personal injury is involved, it climbs to a Class 4 felony, and if a death is involved, it becomes a Class 2 felony, according to the newspaper. In addition, the law increases the consequences for reckless watercraft operation and keeps a person from receiving a second court supervision after a second conviction for operating a watercraft under the influence.

“This legislation is a good first step toward making our lakes and rivers more safe,” state Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-32nd) told the newspaper.

The legislation, Senate Bill 2164, was created in response to an Illinois accident last year in which a man was rear-ended by someone who then fled the scene, the newspaper reported. The victim lost a leg in the accident.

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