New Illinois Boater Law Will Require Drug Testing After Some Accidents

Named for a 10-year-old boy who was killed last year, Tony’s Law will shortly become effective in Illinois and will enable law enforcement to identify drunk boaters with greater certainty. Governor Quinn recently signed into law the new measure after the recent sentencing of a defendant in relation to a 2012 boating accident that cost a young boy his life.

In 2012, a family was boating on Chain O’ Lakes in Lake County and enjoying a day on the water. Their 10-year-old son was tubing behind the boat and lost the rope, leaving the rest of the family on the boat to circle back to pick up the boy. As they were closing in on him, the family watched as a boat driven by a Bartlett man closed in on the child in the water and struck the child, running him over and causing his body to come into contact with the boat’s propeller. Unfortunately the boy did not survive the accident.

Authorities later charged the boater with aggravated driving under the influence to which the man pleaded guilty in June of 2013. He received a 10 year prison sentence – the same length of time his young victim lived. In response to the accident, the boy’s family has been advocating for greater awareness of the inherent dangers of drunk boating, and as a result, Tony’s Law has been enacted.

The new law will require any boater that is involved in an accident that results in the serious injury or death of another to consent to be tested for drugs and alcohol to determine if the boater was under the influence of any intoxicating substance at the time of the crash. The laws regarding drunk driving violations in Illinois apply to drunk boating as well, so those found to be boating under the influence may be subjected to civil or criminal charges.

In addition to any charges brought by the State of Illinois, drunk boaters may be liable for the damages they cause a victim. In the event that a victim survives a boating accident, the victim may be able to bring a claim for their injuries against the responsible boater. If the victim dies, the right to bring a claim may rest with the surviving family of the victim.

A civil claim brought for damages can include a wide range of losses, including expenses incurred for medical bills or likely to be incurred in the future, expenses for physical or rehabilitative therapy, hospital and doctor’s bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Each case is unique and the damages in each case are different, so if you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, you should consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer to learn about your rights.

At Abels & Annes, P.C., our team of dedicated Chicago personal injury attorneys are standing by 24 hours a day to provide you with a free telephone consultation at (312) 924-7575. We offer a free telephone consultation or if you prefer, a free in-home or in-hospital consultation. Call us now and let us get to work for you.

Prior Blog Entries:

Six Vehicle Crash on I-55 Leaves Woman Dead, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published July 20, 2013.

Car Accident Lawyers Reach $80,000 Hit-And-Run Settlement, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published July 18, 2013.


Quinn Signs New Law 1 Year After 10-Year-Old Killed By Drunk Boater, CBS Chicago, published July 21, 2013.

Boater in fatal DUI gets 10 years, by Susan Berger, Chicago Tribune, published June 15, 2013.


Posted in:

Comments are closed.

Contact Information