17 people killed in last 7 weeks on Wisconsin's snowmobile trails

2020 is proving to be a year more deadly for snowmobilers than years’ past.

As of Feb. 24, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources snowmobile fatality summary shows 17 people have died while snowmobiling in the last seven weeks. All but two of those deaths state the rider or operator was wearing a helmet. In six of the 2020 fatalities, alcohol use was not a factor. It was a factor in seven cases. The other four cases are still under investigation and those results have not yet been determined. The majority of fatal crashes were due to the operator striking a fixed object -- most often, a tree.

"Speed and alcohol trend to be contributing factors in those cases," stated DNR Conservation Warden, Lt. Martin Stone. "Slow down and have no alcohol. Don't drink before or during the ride."

In 2019, 16 people died while snowmobiling in Wisconsin. The majority of crashes--10, had alcohol as a factor. The statistics were from Jan. 4- March 20.

In 2018, 19 people died during the reporting period of Jan. 5- Dec. 31. Only one of those fatalities included a definitive ‘no’ for alcohol use. Two other cases were still listed as pending.

The 2015/2016 season shows it had been the safest in recent record, with nine deaths. In the 2014/2015 season, 12 people died.

To view the snowmobile fatality summary reports, click here