Drunk Driving: Unsafe Motorways and Waterways

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By now everyone is aware of the danger posed by drunk drivers. We have all heard the terrible stories of death and dismemberment on the streets and highways of this country. But drunk drivers don’t just present a danger on the roads. They present dangers on rivers, lakes, and even on the ocean, as well.

A terrible tragedy out of Michigan illustrates how easy it is for repeat offenders to slip through the tracks. Brandon Verfallie was recently sentenced to five to fifteen years for the deaths of two people in a boating accident that occurred in August of 2014. Mr. Verfallie expressed remorse for striking the cabin cruiser bearing Robert Koontz and Nancy Axford, and it is possible he truly feels remorse. But remorse won’t bring them back, and he’d had multiple chances to learn his lesson before it escalated to the deaths of two innocent people.

Mr. Verfallie was already not allowed to drive cars before the boating accident. His license had been suspended. But, as is often the case, nothing was done to stop him from driving a boat. There are many ways a suspended license does nothing to prevent tragedy, including:

  • Relying on the honesty and integrity of the person whose license is suspended that they won’t drive a vehicle, as there is no actual barrier put in place
  • Relying on a second offense being committed after the license is suspended before the driver actually is punished for the first offense
  • Not banning people with suspended licenses from operating other motor vehicles, including boats, dependent upon the jurisdiction

If you or someone you love has been injured by a drunk driver, whether in a car or on a boat, it is important that you do everything you can to hold the drunk driver to account. As this story makes painfully clear, it is simple for an individual to keep making terrible choices until someone pays with their life. Contact a qualified attorney to help you make the right choices to keep a greater tragedy from occurring.