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Old 11-19-04, 11:30 AM   #1
Mayonnaise
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More autos, animals colliding

Study: Fatal crashes at an all-time high

By Dee-Ann Durbin
Associated Press
Published November 19, 2004

WASHINGTON -- Cars and motorcycles crash into deer more than 4,000 times a day, and that's taking an increasingly deadly toll on people.
Last year a record 210 motorists were killed in collisions with animals, mostly deer. That was 40 more than the previous year and more than twice the number in 1993, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Accidents are most likely to happen in November, the institute said, because hunters are out and deer are in their mating season, both of which cause the animals to be on the move. Crashes are most likely to occur during the evening or at night, often on rural roads with speed limits of 55 m.p.h. or higher.
"The deer population is growing and there are more vehicles on the road every year," Allan Williams, the institute's chief scientist, said Wednesday. "There's just a lot more chance for interaction with animals on the roads."
Deer are involved in about 75 percent of fatal animal-involved accidents. In all, there were 1.5 million deer crashes last year, injuring 13,713 people and causing $1.1 billion in vehicle damage, the institute said.
The study found most animal crashes involved one vehicle, and deaths usually were caused when the vehicle left the road or a motorcyclist fell off the bike. In a few cases, people were killed when the animal crashed through the windshield.
Other animals that cause crashes include horses, moose, dogs, bears, cats and opossums, though none is responsible for a significant number. Cattle also cause a small percentage of crashes.
Such animal-involved fatal crashes have been rising since the mid-1990s, according to federal data analyzed by the institute.
Between 1993 and 1997, an average of 119 fatal crashes occurred each year. Between 1998 and 2002, the figure rose to 155.
The institute said special signs during migratory periods, the thinning of herds and signs that activate when deer are near roadways have shown promise in reducing crashes. Drivers also should be alert and slow down in the evenings, Williams said.
But even with precautions some crashes are unavoidable.
"Sometimes animals just appear in the roadway and there's not much chance to react," Williams said.
Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable, especially when the rider doesn't wear a helmet.
In the institute's analysis of fatal crashes in nine states, 65 percent of the 60 motorcyclists and all-terrain vehicle riders killed weren't wearing helmets.
"If an animal hits a motorcycle, the motorcyclist can go off the bike pretty easily," Williams said.
The same study found 60 percent of the 93 vehicle occupants killed in animal crashes weren't wearing seat belts.

Copyright 2004, Chicago Tribune
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Old 11-19-04, 02:10 PM   #2
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Maybe the deer should be required to have licenses?
At least in NYC, surely.
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Old 11-19-04, 04:25 PM   #3
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>>>>Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable, especially when the rider doesn't wear a helmet.
In the institute's analysis of fatal crashes in nine states, 65 percent of the 60 motorcyclists and all-terrain vehicle riders killed weren't wearing helmets.<<<<<<

Folks. You would have to be big time risk taker to ride a motorcycle and not wear a helmet.
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Old 11-19-04, 05:08 PM   #4
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The past several years, Iowa City has hired a private deer management company to cull the herd to 30 deer per square mile. This year they plan on spending $75,000 to kill 282 deer. Being the only city in Iowa that uses sharpshooters to thin deer population, I can only think there must be another solution.

In a related event, on my ride home from work the other day, I had a deer running along side me about 10 yards off the highway. Much to my dismay, he seemed to be putting forth a lot less effort than I was.
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Old 11-19-04, 09:36 PM   #5
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Green Bay allows people to archery hunt in the larger city parks. The hunters are selected by lottery, and need a background check and proficiency test before hunting. Hunting times are posted at the parks. Certainly cheaper, and probably safer, than sharpshooters.
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Old 11-20-04, 09:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blwyn
Green Bay allows people to archery hunt in the larger city parks. The hunters are selected by lottery, and need a background check and proficiency test before hunting. Hunting times are posted at the parks. Certainly cheaper, and probably safer, than sharpshooters.
I've read about the sharpshooters. They use small caliber weapons at night and only take close-up shots. They don't miss. This is a hired specialist whose crew takes the deer to butcher shops that process the animal for free, and the meat goes to homeless and women's shelters.
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Old 11-21-04, 07:38 AM   #7
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A deer herd culling problem yeilded a 3% INCREASE in the deer population on Hilton Head Island, SC. The culling was done only in one section of the island, and caused more deer to move into that section once the heard was culled. Fortunatly, the deer on HHI is a unique varity of Eastern Whitetail, and are smaller then deer on the mainland. Hunting is banned on HHI normally.

South Carolina's deer season is the longest in the country, starting August 15 and ending December 31. Studies done buy SC Dept. of Natural Resources show only a small decrease of the deer population every year, with some years showing an increase. The increase of sprawl and wildlife sancuaries are cited as some causes.
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Old 11-21-04, 09:15 AM   #8
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There was an article on this in the paper a week ago or so. It showed the statistics from the states that have this problem. But this article focused on the fatalities. Iowa is something like the 3rd worse from 2003 for vehicle animal collisions that resulted in death for one or more of the vehicles occupants.

The deaths were not caused by the animal going through the wind shield. But by the driver swerving to miss the animal at interstate & highway speeds, losing control & either rolling or crashing into something. The vehicles occupants were either ejected from the vehicle from not wearing a seatbelt. Or they were killed from a serious impact when the vehicle hit something. In most of the deaths, something like 60% the vehicles occupants were not wearing a seatbelt.

The Iowa Highway Patrol recommends that you do not swerve or veer to miss the animal. If you hit it you hit it. Try to come to a safe & controlled stop. It is better to hit the animal & suffer damage to your vehicle then swerve to miss it & end up at the bottom of a ravine, or crashed into a bridge column or another vehicle.
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