(INDIANAPOLIS) - Legislation to increase boating safety on Indiana's waterways is now on its way to the governor's desk for final action, thanks to State Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford).
Steele authored Senate Bill 154, which passed the full Senate for the final time today 50-0. In an effort to align boating offense laws with those of motor vehicles, Steele's legislation would create a Class C misdemeanor penalty for operating a motorboat while using a controlled substance, punishable by a sentence of up to 60 days in prison and a maximum fine of $500.
"This legislation is a no-brainer," Steele said. "Whether you're driving a car or a boat, if you're under the influence of drugs, you're endangering others' lives. Hoosiers who participate in this dangerous practice should be punished. More importantly, Hoosier families negatively impacted by others through tragic incidents caused by intoxication should have an opportunity for recourse."
SB 154 targets intoxication by Schedule I and II drugs, like marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin. Operating a motorboat with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or greater is already a Class C misdemeanor offense.
Steele said impetus for SB 154 came from a fatal 2010 boat crash on Lake Monroe.
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