Bill Seeks to Increase Boating Fatality Penalties in Alabama

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The Alabama Senate is trying to increase the penalties for alcohol-related boating deaths to the same as deaths caused by drunken car drivers.

The Senate voted 18-1 Thursday for a bill to equalize the penalties. The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Bryan Taylor of Prattville, says a drunken boater should be held equally responsible to a drunk driver. The senator has Lake Jordan and part of Lake Martin in his district. He says the bill stems from fatal accidents on those lakes.

Taylor says the current maximum penalty for a drunken boater who causes a death is five years. His bill increases it to 20 years.

The bill now goes to the House, where a similar bill died last year.

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