In the Midwest, Michigan is a popular spot for snowmobilers. It has over 6200 miles of neat trails luring thousands of people every winter. However, despite its attractive profile, according to a crash data review by the Free Press, more than one hundred thirty snowmobilers died here since 2005 with hundreds seriously injured – this with even lesser snowmobiles on trails due to high gas prices and recession.
In contrast to some Great Lake states which were able to minimize snowmobile related deaths, Michigan has not gone about setting speed limits and lowering blood alcohol level wherein snowmobilers are deemed drunk. Nonetheless, despite increasing enforcements in risky areas, Michigan law enforcement is decreasing along with statewide budget cuts by the government.
Police stated that one of the primary causes of snowmobile deaths is speeding being the major cause of 130 snowmobiler’s death since 2005 with 26 killed just last year and nine this winter. Data in state crashes, as reviewed by Free Press, suggested that for the last 6 years, snowmobile crash deaths have remained consistently high in Michigan.
Another reason for this increasing statistics is that the economy has pushed police agencies in the state to cut staffing. Additionally, Michigan has no speed limits in snowmobiling and also has a higher alcohol threshold (0.10 percent versus 0.08 percent for automobile drivers) for drivers who have been drinking.
Being half way through the season, Bill Manson, Executive Director for Michigan’s Snowmobile Association said that groups countrywide are embracing the “no drinking until you are done for the day” approach and will be spreading the word. Also, officials are looking into better practices in requiring snowmobile insurance.