It is a tragedy some say could have easily been avoided. Nine-year-old Jake Prince and his 13-year-old brother Griffin died when a fishing boat slammed into their family's pontoon boat on Lake Lanier.
Paul Bennett is accused of drinking and operating the boat that plowed into the boys.
A powerful lawmaker is now throwing his weight behind a move to crack down on drinking and boating.
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston said he would push lawmakers to pass legislation that would lower the alcohol limit for drunken boating to the same level as drunken driving during the next legislative session.
"It's a tragic gap that shouldn't be there. We need to close the gap," Ralston said.
The current limit for drunk boating is .10, well above the .08 level for drunk driving, meaning you can get behind the wheel of a boat after drinking far more alcohol.
"It's obviously something we need to fix in our law," Ralston said.
Anti-drunken driving advocates support the move.
"It'll definitely save lives," said Barry Martin, the Georgia State executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Martin has been pushing for a law to drop the alcohol limit for boating while drunk to the same level as driving while drunk.
Martin said a new BUI law could prevent at least some types of tragedies from happening again.
"If .08 is impaired enough to not drive it should be the same for boating," Martin said.
Previous attempts to lower the alcohol limit for drinking and boating failed to pass out of the full assembly.
But potential BUI legislation may have a stronger chance of passing in the session because Gov. Deal and Ralston support changing the law and the recent high-profile tragedy could spur lawmakers to vote potential BUI legislation into law.
The speaker's office told CBS Atlanta that Rep. Kevin Cook would likely introduce the BUI bill next session.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
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