Over the past twelve years, Advanced Drivers of North America has had the privilege of working in rural areas in most American states, training into the thousands of drivers at various agricultural and agro-chemical corporations — people who typically have been born and raised in such areas and who are very conversant indeed with country living and with nature.
One subject on which we have always asked rural drivers for their personal opinions is that of deer-strike collisions, an issue which causes a relatively low number of human injuries and a relatively low number of human deaths but does cause hugely expensive amounts of damage to vehicles: very dear deer indeed.
Even though the law requires that anyone who hits a deer — meaning white-tail, black-tail and mule deer, elk, moose, etc. — to report the collision either to the police, the state’s environment/wildlife department and/or the driver’s own insurance company, very few drivers actually bother to do so. Indeed, the drivers we asked about this, above, typically seemed to think that only about ten percent of all deer-strike collisions are reported at all. (The estimates varied from 50 percent all the way down to just one percent but around ten percent was by far the commonest.) Why is this important? Simply because it brings a whole new meaning to the official figures shown below, and you can adjust them accordingly!
According to Wikipedia, for example, “an estimated 1.23 million deer related accidents occurred [in the USA] in a one-year period ending June 2012.” Previous years’ calculations have suggested that the overall number of reported animal collisions each year, in the contiguous 48 states is about 1.6 million. So now multiply that already-huge figure by the factor of ten shown above in relation to unreported collisions and you may see something closer to the real total!
New York State alone has around 65,000 known deer-vehicle collisions annually.
State Farm has taken a different approach and has created a table and an excellent map showing the collision risks on a state-by-state basis.
Although it may seem bizarre, deer-strike collisions are actually not rare even in large urban areas. The population of white-tail deer, for example, is now at an all-time high across much of America, primarily because back yards in urban and suburban areas have created an ideal environment where they can feed in relative freedom from any predator species and human hunters.
Hitting any of the deer species can never be completely ruled out but the likelihood can be very dramatically reduced by means of wise, accurately-informed driving.
On all ADoNA safe driving courses we therefore always talk about animal-strike collisions and we prefer to cover the subject in-depth wherever possible because it is such a huge cause of expensive vehicular damage and sometimes worse outcomes. This is a field in which we have unsurpassed knowledge and we invite you to take advantage of that for your own team of drivers.