Snowmobiling Safety

Machine Safety

A comprehensive snowmobile machine safety standards program is sponsored by the Snowmobile Safety and Certification Committee (SSCC), a non-profit organization interested in safe snowmobiling. In 1981, the SSCC received the U.S. National Safety Council’s ‘Distinguished Service to Safety” Award for its effective work in improving the safety of snowmobiling.

Under the SSCC machine safety standards program, snowmobiles are certified by an independent testing company as being in compliance with all SSCC safety standards.

The SSCC independent certification program covers every vital component of the snowmobile; electrical, lighting and brake systems; alternate starting system; emergency control; brake and throttle controls; fuel system; reflectors; handgrips; seat; shields and guards. The SSCC standard sets maximum permission sound levels of no more than 78dB(A) at 50 feet when the snowmobiling is traveling at full throttle and no more than 73 dB(A) at 50 feet when the snowmobile is traveling at 15 mph.

The SSCC standard exceeds state government standards in all snowbelt states. Under Transport Canada regulations, all new snowmobiles sold in Canada since 1987 are required to meet the current SSCC standards.

The Compliance of a snowmobile with the SSCC standard is indicated by the SSCC’s black and white certification label, which is generally placed on the right rear tunnel of the machine. These labels are distributed to the manufacturers only after an independent testing laboratory determines that the model is in compliance with the SSCC standard.

Operator Education

Most provinces and states offer snowmobile operator safety-training programs. Many state and provinces have mandatory training courses for youths and under-age drivers. Programs throughout North America can be obtained by contacting your state or province organization. Through these programs, millions of individuals have received formal safety training.

The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, supported by the industry, promotes safe snowmobiling through the Safe Riders! You Make Snowmobiling Safe campaign. The international effort outlines safety guidelines that must be observed while snowmobiling. FREE information available for use and distribution in promoting safety and assisting in safety education classes are as follows:

  • 22 minute safety video titled “Safe Riders, You Make Snowmobiling Safe” – This video features key safety issues and areas of rider responsibility explained and presented in an easy to understand fashion.
  • Safe Riders! Safety Brochures – Discusses key areas of snowmobiling safety.
  • Safety Decals
  • Safe Riders! Posters – These include a variety of posters such as a logo poster and position posters discussing key issues of the safety campaign (i.e.: alcohol and riding don’t mix, always check local ice conditions).
  • Video Public Service Announcements – Four TV production quality public service announcement videos covering key safety issues within the snowmobile community.
  • Radio Public Service Announcements – are broadcast ready.
  • Additional information is available through the ISMA we site at

For the past 6 years, the snowmobile community, lead by the snowmobile administrators and state and provincial associations have sponsored the International Snowmobile Safety Week. Working in partnership with the manufacturers, the organizations have published a Safety Week manual that is used to assist clubs and other organizations sponsor safety related activities, classes, and awareness weeks. Most states and provinces have safety week recognized by their chief public policy leaders and proclamations recognizing the importance of snowmobiling and snowmobile safety done annually in conjunction with International Snowmobile Safety Week. Safety Week is historically held the third week in January and manuals are available from the ISMA office free of charge.

Provincial and state safety education programs include classroom instruction and sometimes field instruction. Snowmobile instruction courses are taught by specially trained volunteer teachers. The courses cover the topics of maintenance and machine operation, proper riding positions, proper clothing, terrian, weather and wind conditions, environmental awareness, skill, courtesy, judgment and common sense.

Provincial and state operator training programs are often funded with snowmobile registration fees or user fees.

Clubs and school systems are also engaged in safety education campaigns. More than one million copies of the Snowmobiler’s Safety Handbook, published by the Snowmobile Safety and Certification Committee, have been distributed to snowmobile enthusiasts throughout North America.

Sno Pro is a computer-based interactive snowmobile safety tutorial that has been developed by CCSO/CCOM. Information on this program can be obtained by contacting them or any provincial organization.

Trail Safety

Inadequate riding and trail facilities increase the risk of snowmobile safety related incidents. Just a few of the risks include: cable and guide wires, fences, barbed wire, unsafe ice and ice ridges, hidden rocks, tree stumps, low hanging branches and other obstacles. Well designed, signed and maintained trails and riding areas not only provide enjoyable recreational snowmobiling opportunities but have been proven to significantly reduce the likelihood of a snowmobiler being injured. Safe trails and use areas remain a top priority and concern of the snowmobile community.

Statistics indicate that only approximately 10-15% of snowmobile incidents occur on well maintained and designed trails where as much as 80-90% of all snowmobile riding takes place.