WESTERN KY (11/15/11) - We’re entering the peak of deer mating season which generates an uptick in vehicle-deer collisions on state highways. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials are issuing a reminder for motorists across the region to be on the lookout for deer crossing roadways, especially near dawn and dusk when visibility is at the lowest.
The effort to keep drivers on alert is especially important because of the increased hazard roving deer present. About half of all deer-vehicle collisions are reported in the last 3 months of the year.
KYTC District 1 Spokesman Keith Todd says a check of deer collisions reported from 2010 provides some perspective on what drivers are facing. A review of police crash reports indicates Hopkins County and Henderson County top the list of Western Kentucky counties with the most deer-vehicle collisions.
“Hopkins County was the leader by far with 133 reported deer collisions. Henderson County came in second with 69, followed closely by Daviess and Muhlenberg,” Todd said. “Our other counties with high numbers include Christian, Marshall and Graves.”
Todd noted that most people think rural counties with high deer populations would have a higher number of vehicle-deer collisions. However, the heavier vehicle count numbers in some of the more urban counties generate a higher likelihood that vehicles and deer will be competing for the same space out on area highways.
“Some of the counties with higher deer numbers have lower human population numbers,” Todd said. “The rural nature of those counties means they have lower traffic count numbers and therefore fewer vehicles to come into contact with roving deer.”
Todd says during mating season deer can find their way into subdivisions and even into commercial areas by following streams and other areas unoccupied by humans.
Todd urged motorists to report all collisions with deer to police. Based on the number of deer highway crews find along area highways, traffic engineers believe a lot of collisions go unreported. Todd says it is important to report collisions to police to provide highway safety engineers with accurate information.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 150 people are killed across the nation each year in motor vehicle accidents involving deer.
Kentucky averages about 3 highway fatalities each year attributed to deer. In 2010 there were 3,106 total collisions with deer reported in Kentucky, resulting in four fatalities and 166 injuries. That compares with 2009 when 3,031 total collisions with deer were reported in Kentucky, resulting in one fatality and 176 injury crashes.
COUNTY 2010 DEER CRASHES
Timely traffic advisories for the 12 counties of KYTC Highway District 1 are available by going to www.facebook.com/kytcdistrict1. You do not have to be a Facebook member to access this page.
Information provided by Keith Todd (KTC)
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