Well, in any case, if someone is so irresponsible to operate just once while under the influence, that's all it takes, ONCE. No training in the world is gonna change it. Irresponsibility and immaturity are the killers on the roads, waters, and in the snow, and will be the death of the sports. Too bad just a few choose to make us all look bad. I don't know how anyone could possibly defend such action, no matter where it takes place. I feel for the guy who killed his friend, it's gotta be tough, but they both made that irresponsible, immature choice. Now, they've both paid the ultimate price.
A lot of people just don't really stop to think about the consequences of driving intoxicated and wreckless driving. They all think "it won't happen to me". But if you show them lots of gory photos and videos of victims, and interviews with their family members, it puts a human face on it, and drives home the reality of what can happen. Some of that fades with time (just like it does after drivers-ed), but it still makes a big difference. And even more important (than driving home the dangers of drinking and driving) is driving home the dangers of wreckless driving, such as taking corners on the wrong side of the trail. Wreckless driving is the root cause of all the carnage on the trails, not just the alcohol. We need to educate people that the trails are not their personal racetrack, where they can get hammered and race against their friends like they are Blair Morgan and Tucker Hibbert. The ignorance that I see on the trails is astounding. People stopping to take a break in the middle of the trail (on a blind corner), flying through the corners like they were on a private racetrack, not slowing down for oncoming sleds, etc. When you feed alcohol to those idiots, what would you expect to happen? They sure as hell aren't going to get any smarter. And penalizing their driver's license isn't going to change their behavior. That's as naive as believing that gun control reduces crime. But mandatory safety education would make an improvement, guaranteed.
No argument here on the training. I think it would be a great idea to do more of it. My son was able to get his snowmobile safety certificate online for Pete's sake. What kind of training is that. It was nothing but a silly formality he had to go through for a piece of paper. There was no hands-on or real visual stuff. I ordered a cd-rom of the program, he took the quizzes, and when it said he passed after several attempts of memorizing the answers, he was able to print the results of the quizzes, mail them in with a check, and viola, certificate comes in the mail. What did he learn there? Granted it's a good effort on the DNR's part for beginners, but I think we're discussing those that are in their drinking ages. I just don't know how to instill it in those minds. Maybe a commitment by clubs to do a presentation at the beginning of the season. Maybe hold funding from clubs until the club can prove attencance by its members, to some training???? I'm sure that can be "fudged" too though. I guess we'll see what happens. For now I think we as sledders might as well put it to rest until some higher power starts to work on it. We could type til we're blue in the finger tips, but it doesn't do much does it?
The only way to really make a difference is to require the safety courses for every single rider, with no grandfathering for any age group. And not some "CD Rom" training course, but actual classroom time, just like we do with hunter safety.