Sunday, September 26, 2010

How Many deer to car accidents occur every year?

It's hard to get an exact number, because many such accidents are never reported. An insurance industry estimate by State Farm insurance puts the number of annual deer-vehicle collisions at around 1.5 million nationwide. (That's an awful lot of deer-jerky!) Numbers are especially high in the east, an area where white-tailed deer are abundant. Such collisions are no threat to deer or raccoons, whose large numbers hedge them from extinction. Yet such collisions can take a toll on many other endangered animals, such as the Florida panther, which just might go extinct if Grandma nails any more of them.

People, too, often come out on the losing end. Around 200 people lose their lives every year as a result of wildlife to auto collisions. Efforts at curbing these accidents, such as car whistles or sensors, have shown little success. Most experts believe the only real solution is to build underpasses and overpasses for wildlife that get all sorts of animals, deer included, across the roads safely. Of course, getting them to use them is the challenge here.

1. Thomas Hayden, "Deer Crashing," National Geographic, October 2008

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