Report: poor behaviours behind most snowmobile fatalities

ORILLIA – The OPP recently released a report that shows recurring bad behaviours contributed to the majority of snowmobile fatalities over the past decade.     

Between 2009 and 2019, the OPP investigated 175 snowmobile fatalities throughout the province. The report found that excessive speed, loss of control, driving too fast for conditions and alcohol impairment were the top contributing factors.

In fact, alcohol was involved in almost half (45 per cent) of the deaths.    

The report also found that 45% of the snowmobilers who died were traveling on frozen lakes or rivers. 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.

“Whether you are a beginner or seasoned snowmobiler, it is important to avoid all manner of risk while enjoying the thousands of kilometres of diverse, scenic snowmobile trails Ontario has to offer,” stated Vijay Thanigasalam, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Transportation

“Maintaining control of your snowmobile at all times and never making alcohol or drugs part of your ride will go a long way to keeping snowmobilers and their passengers safe this season.”

Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) spokesman Andrew Walasek stated, “The OFSC, in partnership with the OPP, is counting on all snowmobilers to take full responsibility for their own safety as well as the safety of their passengers and fellow riders this season.”

Police are reminding operators that “no ice is safe ice. All riders should ensure they use proper safety equipment in addition to wearing appropriate outerwear for the environmental conditions they may encounter.”