The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the State Highway Patrol reported that there were three deaths and 16 accidents on the water in the state over the July 4th weekend.
Law enforcement reported that at least two of the deaths were related to boat drivers being intoxicated.
Each year around the July 4 holiday, North Carolina officials attempt to reduce boating accidents and operating boats while intoxicated with the "On the Road, On the Water, Don't Drink and Drive" campaign.
Still, on July 4, a 17 year old girl died while wake boarding on Lake Norman. She was hit by another boat with an allegedly intoxicated driver. Meanwhile, also on July 4, a man and woman died on Mountain Island Lake when their boat smashed into the shore. The driver also was intoxicated.
As personal injury lawyers in Virginia, we know too well the devastating consequences of driving or boating while drunk. It is good that both Virginia and North Carolina treat BWI exactly the same as DWI. No driver should drive a boat when they have a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. Just as with driving a car, being drunk while boating makes it more dangerous. Vision is blurred, thoughts are cloudy and reflexes sluggish.
Anyone whose family has been devastated by the death of a loved one due to a drunk driver should consider the possibility of filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the guilty party. Whatever jail sentence they receive for their crime will not pay for funeral expenses, medical costs and pain and suffering. Filing such a lawsuit is also a potent reminder to all drivers to be 100% sober when behind the wheel.