The recent horrific boating accident that saw the deaths of two young boys has illustrated the dangerous state of affairs on Lake Lanier, Atlanta’s water getaway. Patrons report that the massive reservoir is treacherously crowded, especially on holidays and weekends during the summer. The Army Corps of Engineers, which built the body of water, reports that around 7.5 million people visit the lake each year. Local residents and elected officials are considering rule changes to make the lake safer, including speed limits, mandatory headlights, more no-wake zones, more education efforts, and an increased police presence.
Many that live in the area describe certain parts of the lake that are a haven for partiers, which leads to large numbers of drunk and careless boaters, as well as severe overcrowding. In Georgia, boaters are not required to have a license and may lead to many inexperienced boat owners and operators. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that in 2011 alone, Lake Lanier saw 28 boating-related accidents that resulted in injuries or that involved alcohol.
The accident that has spurred these possible rule changes is due to a tragic accident that occurred just last week on the popular lake. A man has been charged with boating under the influence and could face charges of homicide by vessel crashing almost head-on into a boat containing nine children and four adults on a Monday night. The man, 44-year-old Paul J. Bennett, was allegedly speeding when the crash occurred. The accident killed 9-year-old Jake Prince and 13-year-old Griffin Prince. According to the grandfather of the victims, Bennett stayed for around 10 minutes before leaving the scene of the accident. He was later found, arrested, and placed in jail in Hall County.
Alcohol use has proven to be one of the most common causes of boating accidents in both Georgia and the United States, but there are other causes of boating accidents too. These include operator inexperience, recklessness (including speeding or inattention), inadequate signage, and equipment failure. All of these can lead to serious injuries and even death, as terribly illustrated by the passing away of the Prince children. If you or a loved one is injured in a boating accident, do not hesitate to contact a skilled Morgan & Morgan lawyer today.
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