OPP urging snowmobilers to be safe as fatalities rise

A higher-than-usual number of Ontario snowmobile deaths this winter has the provincial police strongly urging snowmobilers to "stop taking unnecessary risks while driving."

13 snowmobile deaths in Ontario so far this winter

Snowmobilers in the province are being asked to "stop taking unnecessary risks while driving" as the higher-than-usual number of snowmobile-related deaths continues to rise this winter.

There have been 13 fatalities this winter, which OPP investigators are linking to riding on unsafe ice, speeding, loss of control, intoxication and driver inattention — all "causal factors" in preventable deaths, according to a news release. 

Just last week, 11-year-old Burlington resident Amanda Huxley died after the snowmobile she was driving collided with a transport truck as she was crossing a highway.

"The vast majority of these incidents are not random 'accidents' that can happen to just any snowmobiler. Somewhere along the way, a risk was taken or an error in judgement was made," OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair said.

"Sadly, tragedies occurred at an alarming rate last week and the only way to prevent them is for every snowmobiler to eliminate all forms of risk when riding."

International Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week took place Jan. 21-29. Since then, numerous people took to Twitter to remind the public to be safe on the ice.