Late autumn is a busy travel time for hunters and recreationalists who venture from the Portland Metro Area to Central and Eastern Oregon. Studies show that, most deer-auto crashes occur in November. Biologist Rob Found, from the University of Alberta, attributes this to October through December being mating season for the North American deer.
“Males are so focused on mating, they’re not thinking straight,” Found says. “They’relooking for mates and for other males to fight.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report about 1 million auto / deer collisions each year resulting in 200 American deaths, over 10,000 personal injuries and $1 billion in vehicle damage.
By contrast, sharks have killed 10 people in the USA over the past 10 years, according to the International Shark Attack File. As for bears, a list of known attacks maintained by Bearplanet.org indicates about 28 people have been killed by bears the past decade. Even though there numbers are startling, State Farm Insurance reports the number of deer/car collisions have actually decreased the past three years, likely because of the economy and people driving fewer miles.
Over the five-year period 2005-09, 1,017 people died in vehicle-animal collisions, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In a 2004 study, IIHS found that 60% of people who died in such crashes in automobiles were not wearing seat belts.
The average collision with a car and a deer causes more than $3,000 in damage. Be alert for deer and other animals while driving.