Snowmobiles are supposed to be for fun but dozens of Iowans are getting hurt on them and three snowmobilers died last year. Sonny Satre is recreational safety coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. With so much snow, Satre says more Iowans are out on their machines, increasing the chances for an accident.In the year 2000, Satre says more than 50 people were hurt in at least 73 reported snowmobile accidents. Only 55 accidents were reported in the previous year. Satre says most of the recent wrecks were caused by carelessness.Of the three fatalities last year, one snowmobiler went through the ice at Clear Lake and drown, another hit a culvert in O’Brien County and the third person rolled a snowmobile. In that last incident, alcohol was involved. Satre says most of the wrecks involve either the throttle — or the bottle.There are 35-thousand registered snowmobiles in Iowa. The D-N-R requires anyone between 12 and 17 to successfully complete a safety course before operating a snowmobile on public land.
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