DNR: State Snowmobile Deaths On Par With Last Season

Authorities Point To Alcohol As A Common Factor

There have been seven snowmobile-related deaths in Wisconsin so far this winter, according to state DNR officials. | Photo: Linda (CC-BY-NC-ND)

There might be less snow this winter in Wisconsin than last year, but the number of deaths among snowmobilers in the state is keeping pace with the 2013-2014 season.

Seven riders have died so far this winter compared to eight at the same time last season, according to state Department of Natural Resources officials.

Wisconsin DNR snowmobile safety administrator Gary Eddy said preliminary reports show six of the seven cases involved alcohol. Alcohol, along with speed and night riding, are the three most common factors that claim lives in snowmobile accidents, Eddy said.

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“We have crashes where all three are involved,” he said. “That is the ultimate recipe for disaster.”

According to Eddy, anyone born after Jan. 1, 1985, is required to take a snowmobile rider safety education course. However, he said more than half of the 23 riders who died last winter were older than 40.

“Ultimately, it is up to the individual to ride in a manner that they’re going to come home,” he said.

Eddy advised people to slow down, avoid risks and refrain from drinking on trails.

The DNR’s most recent report on snowmobile safety in Wisconsin is available here.