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Contact: DNR Office of Communications

DNR Urges Sober Riding As Snowmobile Fatality Numbers Climb

friends riding snowmobiles through snowy forest of saint germain As you venture out on your snowmobile, think of your loved ones. Don’t drink and ride. Photo credit: Narayan Mahon/Travel Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports nine snowmobile fatalities so far in 2023 and urges all snowmobile operators to Sled Safe and Sled Smart.

“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. “Over the past five years, alcohol was involved in 68% of snowmobile fatalities. As you venture out on your snowmobile, think of your loved ones. Don’t drink and ride.”

Local sheriff’s deputies and DNR conservation wardens are amping up patrol efforts to make sure you’re staying safe.

Don’t forget these 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.

You can view an up-to-date, brief synopsis of 2023 fatal snowmobile crashes on our website.

Visit the DNR’s snowmobiling webpage for additional information on snowmobile safety classesregulationssafety tips and how to register your snowmobile.

DNR Violation Hotline

Anyone with information regarding natural resource violations, including unsafe snowmobile operation, may confidentially report by calling or texting the Violation Hotline at 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained staff relay the information to conservation wardens. Reports can also be filed online.