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Lawmakers seeking mandatory drug testing after boating accidents

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2019 | admiralty & maritime law

Louisiana is home to a number of waterways that residents and visitors to the state enjoy for recreational entertainment and various boating companies utilize for business. Every year, this state sees more than its fair share of boating accidents that leave victims seriously injured or worse. When serious boating accidents occur, it is not uncommon for investigators to check for operator impairment, yet the current laws in place limit what substances they can test for. Proposed law changes could fix that.

A state representative recently proposed extending the state’s drug testing laws to make it a requirement to test for drug-related impairment following serious auto or boating accidents. As current laws stand, drug testing is typically only required following fatal accidents. This is a disservice to those who suffer injuries in collisions caused by individuals who choose to operate their vehicles while high on various drugs.

There are a number of drugs, legal and illegal, that can impair a person’s ability to think clearly and operate a vehicle safely. This proposed law change is not just about identifying people who are under the influence of illegal drugs, but prescription drugs as well. If this bill passes, it could certainly help victims of serious boating and auto accidents seek compensation for their losses, as the information gained from mandatory testing could help establish operator negligence.

Serious boating accidents happen for a number of reasons. The hope in bringing a bill like this forward is to prevent drug use from being one of those reasons. Only time will tell if changes to the law will be made. In the meantime, Louisiana residents who have been seriously injured in boating accidents may still take steps to seek relief for their losses, particularly if impairment is thought to have been a contributing factor. Legal counsel can review the details of one’s case and assist one in taking the actions necessary to seek fair and full compensation.