Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: May 4, 2011

Sen. Bill Brown
Sen. Bill Brown

Bill to make state’s waterways safer heads to Governor

After four years of advocating for stronger laws on boating under the influence, Sen. Bill Brown finally succeeded Tuesday when Senate Bill 324 passed the Senate unanimously. The measure now heads to the Governor’s office.

“Whether people are driving on our roads or on our lakes, they should all be held to the same legal standard. Getting this bill passed has been a long, tedious process, but it will be well worth the effort when we see the number of boating fatalities and accidents decrease,” said Brown, R-Tulsa. “I want to thank my colleagues in the Legislature for helping me get this life-saving legislation to the Governor’s desk.”

SB 324 will lower the legal blood alcohol concentration for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) from .10 to .08 - the same limit as for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The measure also includes an implied consent provision, which mirrors current DUI laws as well. The provision states that anyone who operates a vessel on state waters consents to blood or breath testing to determine alcohol concentration.

The Department of Public Safety reports that since 2003 there have been over 100 alcohol-or intoxicating substance-related boating accidents with more than 40 deaths.

SB 324 was a request bill from Lake Eufaula’s lake patrol and Marina Association.

“People think that boats aren’t as dangerous as cars, but they are more so. There are no speed limits or signs to direct traffic on the water; and the effects of alcohol are much greater in the water than on land because of dehydration and exposure to the elements,” said Brown, who owns a Marina at Lake Eufaula. “This is a huge victory for all Oklahomans who enjoy water recreation. Oklahoma’s lakes and rivers are going to be much safer once this bill is signed into law.”

The new law will go into effect as soon as it is signed by the Governor.

For more information, contact:
Sen. Brown: (405) 521-5602

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

May Press Releases | Press Releases