Rep Webber introduces plan to strengthen Ashleigh Isermans Law

first_img State Rep. Michael Webber this week introduced a plan to ensure teenagers are adequately prepared before they are allowed to operate a personal watercraft in Michigan.Webber’s legislation would eliminate a provision that allows 14- and 15-year-olds to operate personal watercraft on their own if they are within 100 feet of a parent or guardian.“Personal watercraft, or Jet-Skis, have increased dramatically in size and power in recent years. They can reach speeds as high as 70 miles per hour, but do not have brakes or off-throttle steering,” said Webber, of Rochester Hills. “Younger children simply do not have the center of gravity required to control these vessels. We cannot reasonably expect 14- and 15-year-old kids to be able to safely operate these increasingly large and powerful personal watercraft.”Webber introduced the plan after speaking with Jan Iserman, whose teenage daughter Ashleigh died while operating a personal watercraft on Oakland County’s Long Lake in 2004.In the years following Ashleigh’s death, her parents formed the Ashleigh Iserman Boating Safety Foundation and successfully advocated for the passage of Ashleigh Iserman’s Law, raising the minimum age for the solo operation of a personal watercraft from 14 to 16. However, Jan Iserman said additional reforms are needed to ensure the safety of Michigan teenagers.“I am thrilled Rep. Webber has moved forward with this amendment to Ashleigh Iserman’s Law,” Iserman said. “It is great to see Mike values our young people and their safety on our waterways. This bill will help educate our young operators and give them the guided experience they need. It will save lives.”Iserman said personal watercraft are the only type of vessel for which the leading cause of death is not drowning. Even at moderate speeds, riders are often killed from the force of the collision before they hit the water.According to the U.S. Coast Guard, inexperience is one of the top factors in personal watercraft accidents across the country.“We now know that youthful operators need education, supervision and guided experience. It is no different than what we want when our children begin driving a car,” Iserman said. “Guided experience with boating safety certified and licensed guardians will help keep our children safe on the water.”Lt. Daniel Toth of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said the legislation makes a common sense reform.“Would we give the car keys to a 14-year-old and tell them to drive 100 feet behind us? Or do we have them sit next to us and learn?” Lt. Toth said.Under the plan, Webber said 14- and 15-year-olds with boating safety certificates will be able to gain experience by operating a personal watercraft with their parent or guardian on board.“Michigan is blessed by many waterways and some of the best boating in the nation,” Webber said. “This legislation seeks to ensure our children are adequately trained and equipped to be as safe as possible while they enjoy one of the great pastimes our state has to offer.”House Bill 5994 was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee for consideration.### 18May Rep. Webber introduces plan to strengthen Ashleigh Iserman’s Law Categories: Webber Newslast_img read more