Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer. It comes with picnics, parties, boating, camping and unfortunately an increased risk for accidents and injuries. With so many people on the roads and out on the water this weekend, it's smart to take some time to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. Below are a few tips to remember while you're celebrating over the weekend.
If you're operating a car, truck or motorcycle…
- Many Texas counties implement a “No Refusal Weekend” over the Memorial Day holiday. The term “No Refusal” can be misleading. Drivers still have the right to refuse field sobriety tests, breath tests or blood tests. However, during No Refusal Weekend there is a judge or magistrate on call to issue warrants for blood tests to be performed. Once the warrant is issued, the driver must comply with the test or possibly face additional charges.
- Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony and is defined as operating a motor vehicle, watercraft, amusement ride or aircraft while intoxicated and causes the death of another by mistake or accident. (I'll probably delete this section.)
- While intoxication manslaughter is a criminal offense, the person at fault may also face a civil lawsuit from the estate of the deceased or other injured parties.
- Texas does not require helmets for motorcycle riders or passengers aged 21 or older, but it's still a good idea to wear one. Wearing a helmet while on a motorcycle greatly reduces the risk of injury or death should an accident occur.
- Don't get in the car if the driver appears impaired or intoxicated. Simply put, it's not worth it. There are plenty of apps for rides (Uber, Lyft, etc.) and cab companies around to give you a sober ride home.
If you're boating…
- You can get a BWI (Boating While Intoxicated), if you appear impaired and/or have a BAC of 0.08 or higher while operating a boat. BWI carries a fine of up to $2,000, 180 days in jail, or both.
- Your driver's license can be suspended if you're arrested for BWI. The first time offense comes with a 180-day suspension.
- You may not operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC) without a lifejacket. PWCs include Jet Skis, wetbikes, waverunners etc.
- When towing someone on your boat (ex: in a tube, wakeboard, water skis, etc.) there must be one other observer in the boat (other than the boat operator) who is 13 years or older
- All children aged 13 or younger must wear a life jacket while in a boat less than 26ft.
- Children aged 13 or younger may not operate a Motorboat or PWC unless accompanied by an adult aged 18 or older.
- A boat must have enough lifejackets for each person on board.
- For more information on boating safety in Texas, click here: http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/boat/safety/
If you or someone you know were injured in an accident contact Powers & Associates at 972-755-9578 or visit us at www.crashlawyers.com. You will receive a free consultation with a car accident attorney to evaluate and discuss your case.
Have a safe & happy Memorial Day!