Alcohol causing Wisconsin snowmobile accidents

On behalf of Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

Every winter, outdoor enthusiasts from all around Wisconsin head out to enjoy the blankets of fresh powder covering the state. While skiing and snowshoeing are great ways to explore, one of the most exciting ways to see both backcountry trails and public park routes is on a snowmobile. Cruising across the ice is exciting, but the number of snowmobile injuries point to the dangers apparent with this sport.

Wisconsin fatalities

The popularity of this sport is shown by the number of snowmobile registrations for Wisconsin residents. The Department of Natural Resources states that there have been between 218,349 and 236,248 registrations each season from the years 2005 through 2015 across the state. Over the years, the number of fatalities due to snowmobile accidents has varied, starting at 36 during the 2005 to 2006 season and hitting a low of 10 during the winter 2011 to 2012.

While those who suffered death were shown to be wearing a helmet and safety certified more often than not, one of the most common factors in the fatalities is that up to 76 percent of snowmobile deaths involved alcohol. Each victim’s blood alcohol concentration was tested and was above 0.2 percent in about one-third of the cases. Around half of these victims were estimated to be traveling at speed of greater than 31 miles per hour, and 75 percent of cases involved collisions with fixed objects, such as cabins, trees or a shoreline.

Safety efforts

The combination of alcohol and speed yields deadly results and is not going unnoticed. The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported that local officials at some of the most popular snowmobiling spots have begun making efforts to reduce the number of intoxicated motorists. The high rate of weekend fatalities makes it apparent that many deaths are occurring due to vacationers. While alcohol is also often enjoyed on pleasure trips, some committees are beginning to place posters warning of the dangers of intoxication to discourage riders from driving snowmobiles while under the influence. Officials from Vilas County, one of the most popular snowmobiling spots, have seen a marked decrease in the number of snowmobile fatalities since efforts against intoxication began in 2009.

If you have been injured or lost a family member in a snowmobiling accident, an experienced attorney can ensure that you receive all the help and support that you will need. By working with a lawyer, you can ensure that your needs are met and you receive the right amount of compensation.