Monthly Archives: May 2016

8 Rules for Drinking and Boating in Wisconsin

Summer is rapidly approaching, and that means that it is almost finally time to get out on the boat and enjoy the water. A lot of us enjoy drinking while out on the boat. Although sharing beers with friends or slowly sipping a cocktail on a lazy summer afternoon can be a relaxing, satisfying experience, it can also impair your ability to safely operate your boat. Remember, alcohol can impair your ability to safely drive any vehicle, whether that vehicle is a car, a boat, a bicycle, or a wave runner.

Below are eight rules you need to remember this summer to protect yourself and those around you. If you are charged with boating while intoxicated, you may wish to reach out to an Appleton DWI lawyer immediately.

1. The Legal Blood Alcohol Limit for Boaters is 0.08 Percent
The legal BAC for drivers of any type of vehicle, car or boat, is 0.08 percent. Boaters whose BAC exceeds this level may be charged with boating under the influence (BUI).

2. Commercial Boaters Have a Lower Legal BAC
The legal BAC for individuals operating commercial boats is lower than that for private boats at 0.04 percent.

3. All Boaters Give Implied Consent to Breathalyzer Tests
Refusing to comply with an officer’s request that you take a Breathalyzer carries the same penalties as a first-time BUI offense.

4. A BUI Does Not Result in Suspended Boating Privileges
But you can be required to take a boating safety course and undergo an Alcohol and Other Drug assessment.

5. The Influence of Any Drug Can be Grounds for a BUI
An individual can be charged with BUI if he or she is found operating a boat while under the influence of any drug, not just alcohol. This includes prescription drugs.

6. Obey All Water Traffic Signs
Although you cannot control other boaters’ choices about drinking and boating, you can reduce your chance of being involved in an accident by obeying the established boating laws. These include driving within the marked channel and observing no-wake zones.

7. Use a Designated Driver
Just like you designate a driver when you are in a car, designate one when you are on the boat. This individual should be a licensed boater if he or she is required to be by Wisconsin law.

8. Penalties for a BUI Can be Significant
Although you will not face a revocation of your boating privileges with a BUI, you can face fines and jail time. You can also face these penalties for refusing to take a Breathalyzer test if you are suspected of boating under the influence.

Work with a Neenah DUI Lawyer

If you are charged with boating while intoxicated, you need to reach out to a skilled attorney immediately. Work with a member of our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC to craft a solid defense. Our team of Wisconsin DUI attorneys is here to help ensure your rights are protected.

Car and Pedestrian Crash Deaths On the Rise in Wisconsin

According to the “Spotlight on Highway Safety” published by the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA), pedestrian fatalities have dramatically increased. From 2009-2014, deaths in the U.S. went up 19%. During the same period, total traffic fatalities only increased 4%. The trend is continuing.

GHSA estimates that pedestrian deaths will increase an additional 10% in 2015 from 2014. The report identifies numerous factors that may be causing the troubling increase. One possible factor is cell phone use. Distracted walking can be as dangerous as distracted driving. Alcohol use is another.

In a surprising note, the report indicates that 34% of pedestrians involved in fatal crashes had blood alcohol levels (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. That is high compared to the fact that 15% of drivers involved in such crashes had a BAC of 0.08 or more.

Wisconsin ranked in the lowest 10 states for pedestrian fatality rate per capita. However, Wisconsin is not immune from the disturbing trend. In fact, pedestrian deaths in WI increased 47% in the first 6 months of 2015 as compared to the same period in 2014. That was the 8 the highest increase in the entire U.S.

As with other states, WI is taking action to improve this senseless loss of life. WI funded the “Share and Be Aware” program to educate roadway users, is implementing training classes for law enforcement, is training planners and engineers in pedestrian safety, and has begun high-visibility enforcement projects in 3 cities. WI law enforcement has also begun enforcing distracted driving laws.

For example, a driver was recently convicted of negligent homicide in Fond du Lac, WI. The driver had been sending and receiving texts just moments before rear ending another vehicle at 70 mph and causing the wrongful death of the other occupant. The defendant driver is set to be sentenced on June 24, 2016, and she faces 10 years in prison.

This is an important safety issues for all residents of the state of WI. Despite best efforts, any of us could become the victim of a distracted or impaired driver. Such cases require the assistance of an experienced car crash and personal injury attorney. There are potential issues with payment of medical bills, insurance coverage, and the right to pursue punitive damages. At Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC, we have the experience and knowledge to handle such insurance claims. If you or a loved one have been injured by a distracted driver, call Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC or go to our website for more information.