Motor vehicle collisions often seem inevitable due to the limited space available. If a vehicle swerves into the wrong lane of traffic, for example, the driver already in that lane will have a few options for avoiding a crash without going off the road. That simply isn’t true for those operating boats on Lake of the Ozarks. There is far more space to maneuver because there aren’t designated, restricted lanes for vessels. People can move in any direction to avoid a direct collision.
Despite having more options on the open water, boating collisions do still occur, often with tragic results. One factor frequently contributes to collisions between boats.
Intoxication impacts decision-making while boating
Having a few beers can help someone relax. The alcohol they consume will also affect their ability to pay attention, make the right decision and react quickly to sudden threats. Those out on the open water often assume that they have minimal risk of encountering law enforcement or a dangerous situation. That overconfidence can lead to people openly violating certain rules, including laws against impaired boating. Frequently, boating while intoxicated (BWI) charges follow major boat collisions on Lake of the Ozarks.
Alcohol is a common factor that increases collision risk and impairs the ability of individual voters to make the right choice on the water. The authorities responding to such collisions often request chemical testing from the people involved. Someone involved in a boating collision may have the option of taking legal action against another boater who ignored the law and consumed too much alcohol while out on the lake. A BWI conviction can help someone convince the civil courts that the other party involved in the collision is liable for the losses generated.
Understanding what factors contribute to boating collisions may help people more effectively pursue justice after an incident on Lake of the Ozarks.