Tis’ Deer Season. “Oh Deer!”
It is Deer season, and now is the time to remind drivers of the dangers of animals on the roadway. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that 1.5 million deer-related accidents occur annually. Deer are struck in three out of four accidents involving animals. Nationally, deer collisions with vehicles annually cause some $1.1 billion in vehicle damage, kill 150 people and injure another 29,000 people.
Cattle, horses, dogs, and bears also led to fatalities in collisions. Crashes with deer are most likely to occur in late fall during deer breeding, migration, and hunting season. Accidents with deer are likely to occur on rural roads with a speed limit of 55 mph or higher speed limits, in darkness, or at dusk and dawn. In 60% of the accidents involving human fatalities with animal-vehicle collisions, the fatality was caused not by the collision with the deer, but by failure to wear a safety belt. The animal-vehicle collision is the first event and often not the deadliest. What occurs to the vehicle after the initial collision is often the cause of the fatality, i.e. striking a fixed object or another vehicle(s). There is no feasible way to keep deer and other animals off the roadway. Deer whistles have been sold over the years to avoid deer collisions. I can personally attest that the whistles work. However, it is still up to the deer what action is taken after hearing the whistle. This may include standing still in the roadway or running directly at you; therefore, drivers must always be vigilant, especially in areas prone to animal crossing.