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Alcohol, drug use reported in more than half of Canada’s annual snowmobile deaths

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A new report on snowmobile fatalities says Canada averages 73 deaths a year, with the vast majority involving males.

Further, alcohol or drug use, at 55 per cent, was reported in more than half of the fatalities involving snowmobiles between 2013 and 2019.

Alcohol or drugs were also reported in 51 per cent of submersion deaths and 44 per cent of multi-vehicle collisions during that same time frame.

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Released to the public on Friday, the results come from Statistics Canada, the Canadian Vital Statistics death database and the Canadian Coroner and Medical examiner database.

The report also outlined a number of other considerable risk factors, such as excessive speed, which accounted for 34 per cent of all reported snowmobiling deaths within that time span.

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Also cited as riding in the evening or at night, when 35 per cent of fatalities were due to poor visibility.

Gender also appears to be a glaring factor, with 89 per cent involving males, and with three-quarters of all fatalities involving a solo rider.


Click to play video 'Lost B.C. snowmobiler praised for ‘spot on’ survival response'



Lost B.C. snowmobiler praised for ‘spot on’ survival response


Lost B.C. snowmobiler praised for ‘spot on’ survival response

A breakdown of snowmobile deaths per age group

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  • Under 20 years old: 7 per cent
  • 20 to 34 years old: 28 per cent
  • 35 to 49 years old: 29 per cent
  • 50 to 64 years old: 28 per cent
  • 65 years or older: 8 per cent

The report says eight out of every 10 collisions were single-vehicle events. Of those, 69 per cent involved a stationary object (49 per cent), an ejection (14 per cent) or a rollover (6 per cent).

The report also noted that 12 per cent of riders were not wearing a helmet during fatal snowmobile collisions.


Click to play video 'Injured snowmobiler rescued by Vernon Search and Rescue'



Injured snowmobiler rescued by Vernon Search and Rescue


Injured snowmobiler rescued by Vernon Search and Rescue – Dec 30, 2020

The report goes on to outline a number of recommendations to minimize the risks while snowmobiling which include:

  • Not riding while impaired from alcohol
  • Travelling at safe speed
  • Wearing a helmet
  • Wearing clothes appropriate to the weather
  • Carrying safety equipment appropriate to the environment
  • Travelling in a group
  • Avoiding snowmobiling on ice or where there is a risk of avalanche.

“Understanding the risk factors provides important insights for implementing preventative measures,” the report suggests.

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To view the report, click here.


Click to play video '1 dead, 2 missing in 2 separate incidents of snowmobiles going through ice on local lakes: Central Region OPP'



1 dead, 2 missing in 2 separate incidents of snowmobiles going through ice on local lakes: Central Region OPP


1 dead, 2 missing in 2 separate incidents of snowmobiles going through ice on local lakes: Central Region OPP


© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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