Number of Car Versus Deer Crashes Down, But Spike Imminent

State transportation officials say the number of car-deer crashes is down from a year ago, but the number is expected to spike soon.

Car-Deer Accidents

Photo: Regan McCarthy

Officials say more drivers can expect to encounter deer on roadways during October and November.

State transportation officials say the number of car-deer crashes is down from a year ago, but the number is expected to spike soon.    Through the first eight months of the year, the state police’s electronic records system has tallied about 7,100 car-deer crashes across the state.  Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Will Wingfield said that’s a decrease from previous years.

“We’re about five percent down from what we’ve seen on the prior average from those years where we do have those electronic records,” he said.

Wingfield said the top months for crashes are October and November, meaning a spike in crashes is likely over the next 60 days.  Bloomington State Police Sergeant Curt Durnil says he thinks increased signage may be partly responsible for the lower crash total, but said drivers also appear to be paying better attention to their surroundings.

“People seem to be more alert now,” Durnil said. “They seem to know what to look for, they seem to know when you see one it’s probably not the only one in the area, as deer travel in packs.  Folks are realizing it seems like the deer are getting more brave as the years go by.”

There were more than 16,000 vehicle-deer accidents in 2009.  Wingfield says only about one of every 500 of those crashes results in a fatality.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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