New Jersey has passed new legislation that establishes stiff penalties for leaving the scene of a boating accident. The law was passed unanimously by the New Jersey State Senate.
Under the terms of the new law, anyone who flees an accident that results in serious bodily injury to another person without notifying authorities can receive a fine of up to $150,000 as well as three to five years in prison. If the accident results in death, the fine goes up to $250,000 and the prison sentence could be as high as ten years.
"Safety is always our first concern with more boaters on our waterways each year," Senator Jim Holzapfel said in a statement. "This legislation will give law enforcement the authority needed to persecute those reckless enough to leave the scene of an accident without assisting the passengers of the other vessel."
The legislation was created in response to an accident that took place in 2008. Anthony DiGilio of Brick, New Jersey, was piloting his boat on the Metedeconk River when he drove over another vessel, killing one of the occupants. DGilio fled the scene and did not alert authorities to the incident. He was later charged with vehicular homicide, though he was acquitted in April 2013 according to NJ.com.
It's important to avoid these situations by making sure that your boat is equipped with the highest quality communications equipment, including a VHF marine radio that can send out automatic emergency signals to the Coast Guard or law enforcement. You can find the best navigation and communication instruments by shopping at ePal.