As summer starts, safety measures intensify to combat drunk driving and boating in Tennessee

Efforts to ensure safety on both land and water are underway as we enter the second weekend of June in Tennessee. The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) and the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) have intensified their crackdown on individuals who operate boats and vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This initiative was implemented last weekend and aims to promote safety and prevent accidents.

In South Nashville, the TWRA and THP were busy issuing over 100 citations and warnings between checkpoints for both water and road. The authorities also arrested nine individuals for operating vehicles under the influence while boating.

After a boating accident that left her severely injured, one woman is hopeful that the increased enforcement will deter people from operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol.

As the Regional Executive Director of MADD for Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee, Alex Otte knows the importance of safety measures all too well. Her life was forever altered almost 14 years ago when she was struck by a drunk boater while riding a jet ski. Otte shared her harrowing experience to emphasize the need for precautions and remind others of the dangers of drunk driving and boating.

According to Otte, the boat didn’t steer towards safety and instead headed towards his family and the nearby bank. The collision occurred at a speed of over 60 miles per hour, which caused him to be thrown off the jet ski and land face down in the water. The boat then landed on top of him, resulting in severe injuries that not only threatened his life but also left him with lifelong consequences. “Most of these injuries are irreversible,” Otte said.

The accident caused Otte to suffer a traumatic brain injury, a broken neck, and the loss of her right leg.

Otte is convinced that there was a higher purpose for her survival despite the injuries she sustained. She firmly believes that she is alive for a reason and is determined to spend the rest of her life trying to figure out what that reason is. One aspect that she is particularly passionate about is preventing similar incidents from occurring to others, as she believes that this is a significant part of her purpose. Despite there being no medical explanation for her survival, she is resolute in her conviction that there is a greater reason for her being here.

According to Otte, it’s crucial that individuals are educated about the hazards associated with driving and boating while under the influence. Although boating is commonly viewed as a recreational activity, people need to recognize that it can be just as perilous and lethal as driving while intoxicated. Therefore, it’s essential that everyone comprehends their obligation to ensure each other’s safety on the water.

According to Otte, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, commonly known as the summertime, is considered to be the 100 deadliest days of the year. As Memorial Day marks the beginning of the boating season, people tend to spend more time on the water during this time. However, Otte emphasizes the importance of ensuring safety while enjoying the summer and water activities. He urges people to be cautious and responsible so that everyone can return home safely at the end of the day.

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MBS Staff
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