The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has released data that points to a continued disregard for the warnings associated with recurring causes and factors in snowmobile fatalities.
Over the past 10 years, driving too fast for the conditions has been the leading cause of OPP-investigated snowmobile deaths. Alcohol/drugs were a factor in almost half of the fatalities. Forty per cent of the deaths occurred on frozen waterways – a grim reminder that traveling on frozen lakes and rivers is consistently unsafe year after year.
With Snowmobile Safety Week kicking off this weekend, the OPP, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) and other valued public safety partners are reminding snowmobilers that making the riding season safe and enjoyable comes down to common sense and smart decisions.
“Making every snowmobile ride a safe one starts with avoiding unnecessary risks,” says OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique. “Our fatality data sends a clear message that snowmobilers who speed and drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs, as well as those who dismiss our warnings that no ice is safe ice, are tipping the scales towards a tragic outcome to their ride. The OPP, in partnership with the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, asks all snowmobilers to make getting home to your family the most important part of every ride.”
“Snowmobile Safety Week is a reminder that it takes awareness, preparation and precaution to snowmobile safely,” says Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “Know the rules and follow them, carry an emergency kit, avoid waterways and be ready for the unexpected at all times, especially on trails with other users such as pedestrians or skiers. Responsible snowmobiling means staying alert so everyone can get outside and embrace winter in a safe way.”
“Snowmobiling can be a great way to get outdoors during the winter months, but it’s important to keep yourself and those around you safe while doing so,” says Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “During Snowmobile Safety Week, we remind people to follow trail rules, adjust driving to weather conditions, and avoid riding on frozen waterways where ice thickness can be unpredictable. And never operate a snowmobile while impaired by drugs or alcohol.”
“We want riders to have a safe and enjoyable experience on the trails this winter but also remind riders to ride within their limits, operate with care and control, and to always check the Interactive Trail Guide for up to date trail availability information”, says Ryan Eickmeier, OFSC Chief Executive Officer.
For more information about the OFSC and snowmobiling in Ontario, visit: https://www.ofsc.on.ca/safety/.