Thousands across North Texas will spend the busy Labor Day weekend on the water. Just in time for the holiday, new boating laws go into effect to save lives.
Kali's Law is a new mandatory ignition "kill switch" requirement for boat operators and goes into effect Sept. 1.
"An ignition safety kill switch shuts off the boat motor automatically if the operator is thrown from the helm," the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said in a media release.
"The law requires operators of boats less than 26 feet in length that are equipped with an ignition safety kill switch to use it whenever the vessel is moving at greater than headway speed," the Parks and Wildlife release explained. "Headway speed is defined as slow, idle speed, or speed only fast enough to maintain steerage on course."
The "kill switch" would stop a boats motor if the operator is thrown from the vessel; hopefully protecting the boater and passengers from being hit by the vessel or its propellers.
"The new law does not require the retrofitting of older vessels that are not equipped with a kill switch," the Parks and Wildlife release said. "It does not permit the removal of a kill switch device that was originally installed on the vessel. Wireless kill switch devices are permitted for those with concerns about the lanyard style devices."
Kali's Law is named for Kali Gorzell, a 16-year-old Texas girl who was struck and killed by a boat propeller on a fishing trip in 2012.
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