Deer-Vehicle Collision in the US


05Motorists in the US are being warned by auto insurance companies because of the likelihood of deer-vehicle collision especially this fall which is the start of mating season for deers. Based on data recorded by USAA, a leading insurance provider, the number of deer-vehicle collision has increased seven percent from year 2008 to 2009. State Farm, another top-ranked auto insurer, estimates that a deer-vehicle collision is 21.1 percent higher than five years earlier. Based on the insurance claims of the company, about 2.3 million deer-vehicle collisions happened from July 2008 to June 2010.

A collision between deer and vehicles is more frequent in fall which is the peak of the deer breeding season. In addition, the developments in wildlife territories have increased deer population which also contributes to the escalating number of deer-vehicle collisions. The top ten states with the highest occurrence rates in 2009 were West Virginia, South Dakota, Iowa, Montana, Michigan, Wyoming, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Mississippi. West Virginia tops the list for the fourth year in a row. Based on claims data from State Farm and records from the Federal Highway Administration, there is a 1 in 42 chance of a West Virginia driver colliding with a deer over the next 12 months.

Hawaii has the lowest likelihood of a deer-vehicle collision. Drivers should be careful of deer-vehicle collisions because it can be costly and deadly. Based to USAA, there was an average claim of $2,886 due to animal collision last year. Moreover, the number of deaths due to animal collisions has also risen from 177 to 210 between 2001 and 2008.

In order to avoid deer-vehicle collision, there are some reminders drivers should keep in mind. First, keep and practice the six D’s. The six D’s stand for “deer are really in action at dawn and dusk so it is best to drive defensively” during these hours.” Second, motorists should be aware of posted signs such as deer crossing. They should slow down as soon as the signs are seen.  Third, use high beam headlamps especially at night to illuminate areas from which deer will enter the roadway. Fourth, motorists should stop when they see a deer on the road. Honking might work but it is always safer to brake firmly. Finally, in case you accidentally have a deer stricken, never get out and check the animal because it might cause further injury if the animal is still alive. It is better to call the proper authority and stay in the car.