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ATV deaths double from last year; registered vehicles down

Nine people have died this year in all-terrain vehicle accidents in Wisconsin.

That's almost twice the deaths from last year at this time, even though the number of registered ATVs on the trails is 13 percent less than the previous year.

All but two of the nine people killed were crushed when their vehicles rolled over. DNR assistant chief warden Karl Brooks says the causes remain the same from past years, driving on improper terrains which are too steep, speed and alcohol.

Three of the four victims whose blood alcohol levels were checked were drunken. Wisconsin had 272,000 registered ATV's last year, down from 314,000 the previous year.

The industry blames the recession. The Wisconsin ATV Association has asked Gov. Jim Doyle to crack down on drunken driving laws for vehicle riders. The group - which has 10,000 members - wants ATV's link with boats and snowmobiles, so an OWI conviction on one vehicle affects their ability to drive the others.

And the group says a second drunken driving conviction on a recreational vehicle should add points against their licenses to drive cars and trucks