Snowmobile Deaths Rise

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Speed was a factor in five of the six snowmobile fatalities this past weekend. The DNR is trying to pass a bill to enforce a 55 mph speed limit at night because, currently there is no speed limit. But DNR is doing what it can to help prevent accidents from happening.
The majority of the snowmobiling accidents are speed and alcohol related. Thin ice is also a factor when good snow conditions are not present.
The DNR has responded to the high number of fatalities by creating a special team of wardens, concentrated in the northern half of the state.
"They're going to Vilas County, Oneida County or where ever there may be larger concentrations and instead of the one or two wardens that traditionally do all the enforcement there, it's a group of 12 that are trying to do the enforcement," said Bill Yearman, recreational safety warden for Western Central Wisconsin.
But with the high rate of accidents and the possibility of exceeding the state record, it may be difficult for the DNR to take other measures.
"We only have a limited amount of people to do enforcement, so we really don't have anyone else to put out there."
Safety wardens are patrolling the trails. Day and night, they are out there to watch if riders are practicing safe snowmobiling, but they stress there is only so much they can do.
They encourage everyone to think about their actions.
"Slow down for one thing and avoid drinking. Drunk driving in any type of vehicle is a problem. And avoid places where ice is thin."
The DNR also wants people to remember that snowmobiles have become more powerful and people need to ride according to their capabilities.