DNR officers tout safety at Iowa Snowmobile Association Conventi - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

DNR officers tout safety at Iowa Snowmobile Association Convention

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

The warmer weather on Saturday along with the melting snow means some bad news for snowmobile riders looking to get back out on the trails.

The Iowa State Snowmobile Association is hosting its 41st annual Convention and Snow Show this weekend at the Grand River Center in Dubuque.

During the convention, Iowa DNR officers discussed the importance of safety when out on the trails.

Thousands of snowmobiling crashes occur in the United States each year resulting in hundreds of injuries and deaths.

David Downing with the Iowa DNR said Iowa only sees one or two fatalities each year from a snowmobiling accident, but he admits there are many accidents that take place.

Downing said a majority of those accidents are preventable. He said the most common accidents are people sledding on soft ice, hitting something or drinking while driving. He said officers urge riders to stay on the designated trails.

"If you're riding on a trail that's been groomed with a grooming machine you are not going to be striking objects that are hidden in the snow and your main hazards are marked and that's why the trails are out there," said Downing.

Chris Kaune is a member of the Trail Blaz-zers Snowmobiling Club. She joined hundred of other riders in attendance at the conference. Kaune said safety is a top priority for their snowmobiling group.

She said earlier this year, the group had a mock accident to help a local fire department prepare for snowmobile accidents in the future.

Kaune said a week after the mock accident, fire officials responded to a real snowmobile accident on the same trail.

"There was a serious accident on that trail and they found out that what they did with us actually reduced the response time by 50% by having the mock drill," said Kaune.

The 41st annual Convention and Snow Show will continue Sunday at the Grand River Center in Dubuque.

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