Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Fall Is Season For Car-Deer Crashes, Public Education Campaign Details

Public Education Campaign Details

Fall Is Season For Car-Deer Crashes

A new public education program announced by the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition (MDCC) underscores the need for motorists to be exta watchful for deer when driving this fall. IIAM is a member of the MDCC.

Public service announcements sent to all Michigan radio stations are part of the MDCC's campaign to keep the car-deer crash problem in the forefront of motorists' minds. Michigan's large deer herd is moving into the fall mating season, when they are most active, and when most crashes occur.

In 2014, there were 66,993 crashes, up 3 percent from the year before. Forty-four percent of the crashes occurred in the October to December period. Due to unreported crashes, the actual figure is pegged at closer to 80,000.

Spring Crashes

Crashes also are prevalent in spring when deer seek out the first green grass near highways. Since 1991, state car-deer crashes have risen 39 percent. Michigan's annual total represents nearly half of all reported car-deer crashes in five Midwestern states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa.

Eleven Michigan motorists were killed and 2,109 persons were injured in 2014, compared to eight deer-related crash deaths and a similar number of injuries in 2013.

If a crash with a deer is unavoidable, the MDCC recommends motorists: stay in your lane, brake firmly, come to a controlled stop and get your vehicle off the roadway.

Many Factors

Fall Is Season For Car-Deer CrashesSeveral factors are combining to make car-deer crash problem grow. Urban growth spreading into deer habitat and a swelling deer population that is four times higher than in 1970 combine to force deer into smaller areas and into contact with people -- too often in the form of car-deer crashes.

Car-deer crashes result in an estimated $130 million in auto repair expenses in Michigan alone. Nationally, one study found, the figure for reported car-deer crashes total $1.1 billion.

Can Happen Anywhere

Many drivers may think that most car-deer crashes occur in northern Michigan. However, more than half occur in southern lower Michigan. In 2014, the top 10 counties for car-deer crashes were all in southern lower Michigan: Kent 2,327; Jackson, 2,051; Calhoun, 1959; Montcalm, 1,643; Oakland, 1,633; Eaton 1,479; Ingham, 1,433; Kalamazoo, 1,411; Washtenaw, 1,395; Mecosta, 1,379. Michigan's deer here is estimated to be between 1.8 and 2 million.

That is why Governor John Engler has declared October "Michigan Car-Deer Crash Safety Awareness Month."

Here are some tips tips to avoid injury should you encounter a deer in the road:
  • Watch for deer at dawn and dusk. Deer are most active then, especially during the fall mating season. In the spring, deer will move from cover to find food, and back to cover. They often feed along roads, where grass greens up first.
  • Be alert all year long in areas inhabited by deer, and especially on two lane roads.
  • Watch for deer warning signs. They are placed near known deer crossing areas and are your first alert that deer may be in the area.