Cell Phone Use Distracted Coast Guard Patrol Boat Crewmember
In its investigation of a fatal San Diego Bay boating accident that occurred in December 2009, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recently determined that a crewmember aboard the 33-foot Coast Guard patrol boat was using a cell phone. According to a news story, it is not known at this time whether the Coast Guard crewmember was talking on the cell phone or texting; however, the usage was not relevant to the vessel’s operation. An 8-year old boy from Rancho Penasquitos died in the San Diego boat crash that occurred during a boat parade, and five others were injured.
Recreational boating accidents in California can lead to serious injury and even death. While boat crashes involving Coast Guard vessels are relatively rare, this fatal accident has raised concern regarding the potential for distraction among Coast Guard crewmembers.
All crewmembers aboard Coast Guard vessels are considered to be lookouts. The NTSB has encouraged the Coast Guard to create a detailed policy regarding the use of wireless devices and to submit a safety review to the maritime industry. With such a large number of recreational vessels out on the water, there is already enough risk of an accident occurring without the addition of Coast Guard crewmember distraction.
The Coast Guard announced in July 2010 that a new policy will be issued prohibiting the use of wireless devices by the boat operator and by other crewmembers unless permitted by the boat operator. In response to the new policy, the NTSB stated that it was only a “first step” in safety improvements recommended for the Coast Guard and that they must recognize explicit dangers connected to distraction while using wireless devices and include them in the policy.
Individuals who are injured and family members who have lost a loved one in a San Diego boating accident have valid legal rights that deserve to be protected. Steven Elia has committed his practice to helping injury victims and family members of wrongful death victims during one of the most challenging times in their lives. Get in touch with skilled San Diego boating accident attorney, Steven Elia, to learn more about how you can obtain compensation for expenses associated with your injuries and other damages. Call 619-444-2244 today for a free consultation.
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