When a NH Fish and Game officer investigates a snowmobile accident they look at the factors which contributed to the accident.
There are 17 factors that are listed on the accident report form. These factors range from unsafe speed, alcohol/drugs, mechanical issues, icy trails, etc.
When the officer completes the accident report, there may be multiple factors that caused this accident to occur. It is my job to sit down at the end of a season, when all the accident report forms have been submitted, and analyze what are the contributing factors to snowmobile accidents.
2019-2020 NH Snowmobile Accident Report
In the 2019-2020 season there were 66 reported accidents and 151 contributing factors for those accidents. I looked at the three highest contributing factors, including alcohol/drugs.
The three highest contributing factors of snowmobile accidents were:
- Unsafe speed
Inattention would basically be distracted driving. Of those three factors, inexperience was the highest reported factor of all 17 factors.
Of the 66 reported accidents, 63 percent of those accidents were caused in some way by inexperience. Of the 66 reported accidents, 36 percent were caused by unsafe speed and 30 percent by inattention.
Of those accidents reported in 2019-2020, only 7 percent had a contributing factor of alcohol/drugs. Alcohol/drugs ranked 9th highest of the 17 contributing factors.
2018-2019 NH Snowmobile Accident Report
In 2018-2019 there were 96 reported accidents and 154 contributing factors. Of the 154 factors, inexperience ranked number one with 67 percent of the accidents being caused by this factor. Unsafe speed and inattention were 24 percent, separately. 2017-2018 statistics can be found here.
How To Reduce Snowmobile Accidents
Moving forward into the 2020-2021 season, these statistics beg the question of how do we reduce these factors in accidents?
Unsafe speed can be handled with more enforcement, inattention can possibly be reduced through more awareness, and the factor of inexperience shows that we need more or better snowmobile safety training.