Keeping snowmobilers from speeding at night is being credited as a major factor in a decline in snowmobile fatalities for a sixth straight year in Wisconsin, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources.
Seventeen people were killed in snowmobile crashes during the 2010-2011 snowmobile season, down from 21 fatalities in the 2009-10 season.
The new permanent speed limit of 55 miles per hour for night snowmobiling, along with a greater effort to educate snowmobilers in safety, contributed to the decline in fatalities, the DNR said. “This was the first year for the permanent night time speed limit of 55 mph,” said DNR snowmobile administrator Gary Eddy. “The law proved to be effective in the past so that’s why we decided to make it permanent.”
The limit had been in place on a temporary basis since 2006 until it was enacted as a permanent law in May of 2010. According to DNR records, 23 people died in snowmobile crashes in Wisconsin in 2008-09, 25 in 2007-08, and 26 in 2006-07.