On the final day of the 2009 legislative session, the state Senate approved a measure that would lower the legal blood alcohol concentration limit for the offense of boating under the influence from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent.
Sen. Bill Brown, Senate author of Senate Bill 902, noted that alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, accounting for nearly twenty percent of all reported fatalities.
“This is increasingly becoming a problem on our lakes and waterways, and it was important that the Legislature step forward with a strong response,” said Brown, R-Broken Arrow. “I’m pleased that we were able to follow through in that effort today. Operating watercraft under the influence of alcohol is just as dangerous as operating a car or truck, and there’s no reason the legal blood concentration limit should be any higher.”
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol use accounts for nearly twenty percent of all reported boating fatalities. Rep. Mike Ritze, House author of the proposal, said the measure was designed to preserve safety in places of critical importance to numerous Oklahoma communities.
“Oklahoma families should be able to enjoy the natural beauty of our lakes and waterways without having to worry about their safety,” said Ritze, R-Broken Arrow. “By signing this measure into law, we can minimize risks and preserve safety. I’m pleased by today’s vote and look forward to seeing the measure signed into law.”