Boat sober or risk losing your IL driver's license - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Boat sober or risk losing your IL driver's license

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Two new state laws are making it more difficult for reckless boaters to drink on the waterfront.

Governor Pat Quinn signed those new bills Sunday afternoon.

"We don't want to endanger anyone, endanger the lives of anyone. We had tragedy occur in our state a year ago…" Quinn stated.

Nearly one year ago, 10-year-old Tony Borcia was killed while tubing at the Chain-o-Lakes. David Hatyina was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he hit the boy while drunk and under the influence of cocaine.

Tony's mother, Margaret Borcia spoke about the day that shattered her life.

"The coroner told me I couldn't see his body because it was too badly damaged. I told him that I didn't care, that I needed to hold my son and to say goodbye to him," Borcia said.

Because of Tony's family's efforts, starting January first, state law will require boaters involved in serious crashes to take breathalyzer or chemical tests. If they refuse, the state can suspend their CAR driver's licenses.

Boaters watch a video at the Chicago Electric Boat Company just a few hours after Governor Quinn signed the bills into law.

The voice on the video says, "It is illegal to drink while driving a boat," as the boaters listen to safety tips.

The Chicago Electric Boat Company rents out boats to parties of people looking to hit the Chicago River. Owner Ron Silvia says the new laws are welcomed.

"I think it's wonderful. There's a great deal of respect that you have to give the water when you're operating a boat. And it's just like driving a car," Silvia said.

And for one devastated family, this is the start of ending tragedies on the water.

"Doing everything we can to prevent similar tragedies is not only our tribute to Tony, but also a way to begin to fill that hole in our hearts. These bills are a great start," Margaret Borcia added.

If you are looking to drink on the lake, boating companies will make you designate a sober driver. But, if you have a party of no more than 6, companies like Chicago Electric Boat can assign you a Captain at an additional charge.

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