MBIA supports tougher drunken boating laws

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Boating Industries Association supports legislation introduced in the state that would lower the legal blood alcohol limit for boaters from .10 to .08, the Associated Press reported in a recent story on www.insurancejournal.com.

Two bills have been introduced in the Michigan’s House of Representatives to lower the blood alcohol content threshold. They are opposed by some groups, but the MBIA said it promotes programs aimed at getting watercraft operators to leave the driving to others when they’ve been drinking, according to the story.

Alcohol is involved in about a third of reported boating deaths each year, according to the Michigan Association of Insurance Agents, which based its findings on information from the state Department of Natural Resources, AP reported.

There were 178 reported boating accidents in Michigan last year, up about 6 percent from 2004 but down from totals recorded earlier this decade. There were 29 reported boating fatalities in 2005, up from 26 the year before.

The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association is opposed to the bills. It notes that, while the federal government threatened to withhold road dollars from states that didn’t lower alcohol levels to .08 in drunken driving laws, there’s no federal mandate to change drunken boating laws.

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