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Motorists advised to watch for deer on the move
Deer are on the move during October, November, December. KYDOT photo

PADUCAH, Ky. (October 10, 2016) - When you ask what animal causes the most human deaths and injuries each year, most people would guess alligators, bears, or maybe snakes. However, deer are at the top of that list killing about 200 Americans each year in deer-vehicle collisions. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is joining area law enforcement agencies to remind motorists to expect a rise in deer sightings as the fall crop harvest and mating season begin triggering an increase in deer on the move.

"November has the highest number of deer collisions, with October and December right behind. These last three months of the year account for more than half of all reported deer-vehicle collisions for the year," said KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Mike McGregor. "Motorists should use extra caution, particularly when driving during twilight hours."

Kentucky crash numbers indicate there were 162 deer-related injuries and three fatalities in 2015. The jump in deer-vehicle collisions usually starts in mid-October when farmers make substantial progress on the fall harvest, greatly reducing food availability and hiding places for deer. Cooler evenings and shorter days in the fall kick off mating season, putting deer on the move causing them to roam into residential neighborhoods and urban areas with higher traffic numbers.

Motorists should consider these driving tips to help improve their personal safety:

  • Always wear a safety belt.
  • Keep headlights on bright after dark if other vehicles are not present.
  • Drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside (especially at dawn and dusk when deer prefer to be active).
  • Slow down immediately when you spot a deer as others as deer tend to travel in groups.
  • Don't swerve to avoid a deer. Swerving can result in a more serious crash with oncoming traffic
  • In the event of a crash, keep both hands on the wheel and apply brakes steadily

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the average claim for damage from a deer collision in 2015 was just over $4,000. Motorists are asked to report all deer-vehicle collisions to police so locations and crash numbers can be recorded and monitored.

Kentucky Deer-Related Crash Stats

2015 - KY

Total collisions w/ deer = 3,250 (2.4% of all collisions)

Total injury collisions w/ deer = 124 (162 total injured)

Total fatal collisions w/ deer = 3 (3 total killed)

2014 - KY

Total collisions w/ deer = 3,092 (2.4% of all collisions)

Total injury collisions w/ deer = 107 (118 total injured)

Total fatal collisions w/ deer = 3 (3 total killed)

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