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North Carolina Harshens Penalties for Drunken Boaters

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina has toughened penalties for boat operators who unintentionally kill or injure someone while under the influence of alcohol.

Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday signed a law making the penalties for impaired boaters who cause injuries or fatalities similar to those that motorists receive. The bill signing comes after a Concord teenager was killed last year by a boater authorities say was intoxicated while on Lake Norman.

Beginning Dec. 1, death by impaired boating will be a class of felony punishable by a minimum of a little more than three years in prison. The current penalty for driving a boat while impaired is misdemeanor with a minimum $250 fine.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission says alcohol was involved in at least seven of 24 fatal boat accidents in 2015.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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