|Reprinted from http://www.searoom.com/ (with permission)|
Toronto, June 24, 2006: When Collingwood lawyer Ken Compton lost his 27-year-old son, Pete, in an accident caused by a drunken boater on Lake Joseph in Ontario's cottage country, it set him on a three-year odyssey of lobbying government to institute severe penalties for those who drink and boat.
MPP David Zimmer took up the cause by introducing a Private Member's Bill (Bill 209), a procedure that rarely sees results but which, in this case, received all party and committee support. Royal Assent, the final stage in approval of government bills in Canada, was proclaimed on June 22, 2006, amending the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario. The new law takes effect immediately.
Under the amendment, anyone found guilty of alcohol impairment while in command of a power vessel will lose their driver's licence for a least a year. As previously enacted, anyone with a blood alcohol reading of .08 mL per 100 mL of blood, will be barred from driving such a vessel for a least three months.
There is another change: marine police will now be able to render Breathalyzer tests and issue on-the-spot licence suspensions to anyone with readings of .05 and above.
Conviction of an alcohol-related driving offence can result in sky-high insurance premiums (if indeed coverage can by found).