‘Kali’s Law’ is named for the 16-year-old daughter of James and Donna Gorzell, who died on a fishing trip with friends

The death of a Texas teenaged girl nearly seven years ago has led lawmakers there to introduce legislation requiring the use of an engine cut-off switch on any engine equipped with one.

‘Kali’s Law’ is named for the 16-year-old daughter of James and Donna Gorzell, who died on a fishing trip with friends when their boat went out of control and Kali was thrown overboard and caught in the propeller.

The Gorzells, along with family and friends, testified before the legislature and pushed for the safety changes as they have been since Kali’s death.

“The driver that day, our friend Robert, believes that if he had used his kill switch that day, it would have stopped the engine before it struck Kali, and she’d probably still be here,” James Gorzell told WOAI-TV.

A Texas Parks and Wildlife Department official also testified, and gave an alarming estimate: Of the 29 fatal boating accidents reported in Texas last year, the agency believes 26 might have been prevented if a kill switch had been used. That would have reduced the total number of boating deaths to just three, according to the station.

At the end of last year, the US Congress and Coast Guard implemented a law requiring an engine kill switch be used on all boats under 26ft.

The most common kill switches link the driver and kill switch by a lanyard. If the driver loses control of the boat, or falls away from the console, the kill switch is engaged.

In recent years a host of wireless engine kill switch and man overboard devices have been introduced.

“We can’t bring Kali back but our hope is no one else has to go through what we’ve gone through,” James Gorzell added.

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