OPP) has released a 10-year data report on snowmobile fatalities, which officers hope will encourage snowmobilers to avoid the recurring behaviours that contributed to the majority of the incidents over the past decade.
During the past 10 snowmobile seasons (2009-2019), the OPP has investigated 175 snowmobile fatalities throughout the province.
Among the findings in the report, excessive speed, loss of control, driving too fast for the conditions and ability impaired by alcohol were listed as the top contributing factors. In fact, alcohol was involved in almost half (45 per cent) of the deaths.
Almost half (45 per cent) of the snowmobilers who died were traveling on frozen lakes or rivers at the time of the incident. The circumstances that led to the deaths include intentionally driving onto open water (puddle jumping/water skipping), breaking through the ice and collisions with other snowmobiles and natural landmarks.
"Our data tells us that the vast majority of snowmobile fatalities we investigate are completely preventable and the result of snowmobilers taking unnecessary risks," says Chief Superintendent Rohan Thompson. "Of particular importance to getting through the season safely is riding alcohol and drug-free, maintaining control of your snowmobile at all times and being mindful of the unique and increased risks associated with traveling on frozen waterways."
"Our OFSC Interactive Trail Guide is an excellent tool for keeping snowmobilers well-informed about the status of trails throughout Ontario." adds Andrew Walasek, OFSC spokesman.
The OPP warns that no ice is safe ice.