(WFRV) – Law enforcement in Wisconsin is increasing its patrol efforts after the state reported its highest number of snowmobile-related deaths through the first month-plus, in nine years.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports nine snowmobile fatalities as of February 2, 2023, and is urging all snowmobile operators to ‘Sled Safe and Sled Smart.’

The nine reported deaths are the highest tally in the first 33 days of a year since 2014, which documented 11 casualties in that timeframe.

YearDeaths from 1/1 – 2/2
Data provided by Wisconsin DNR

“With the big football weekend coming up, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for snowmobile operators to be safe, responsible, and sober. Impairment of any kind can have tragic consequences,” said DNR Off-Highway Vehicle Administrator Lt. Jacob Holsclaw. “As you venture out on your snowmobile, think of your loved ones. Don’t drink and ride.”

Lt. Holsclaw mentioned that over the past five years, alcohol was involved in 68% of snowmobile fatalities.

The Wisconsin DNR has provided the following snowmobile safety tips:

  • It is never OK to drink and operate a snowmobile. Impairment of any kind – drugs or alcohol – can have tragic consequences. 
  • Always operate within the limits of your skills, visibility, and snowmobile.
  • Stop and look both ways before crossing a road. All snowmobile operators are required to obey stop sign postings and stop. Be sure the path is clear of all oncoming traffic.

Snowmobile crash incident reports provided by the DNR can be found here.