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DNR: Alcohol major reason for fatal snowmobile crashes

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Once again this winter, alcohol is the major reason that people dying in Wisconsin snowmobile crashes.

There have been 15 deaths this season, and the DNR’s Gary Eddy says at least 11 have involved alcohol.

A year ago, there were only 10 total snowmobile deaths in the Badger State due to a much milder winter – but 6 of those 10 deaths still involved alcohol.

Eddy says drinking reduces reaction times, and snowmobiling is an activity that requires a high level of alert at all times.

The latest alcohol-related deaths occurred last Wednesday night, when two men on single machine strayed off the ice-road between Bayfield and Madeline Island, and fell into Lake Superior.

On Friday, a 13-year-old Door County boy was killed after he stopped his snowmobile near a road, and then collided with a truck as he was crossing. Officials have not said what caused that accident.

Eddy says there’s a lot of winter left, and the DNR is concerned that they’ll keep seeing a rise in snowmobile deaths. But he says people can easily reduce the three top factors in those deaths – alcohol, speed, and night-time riding.

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