The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Community News Network

October 1, 2013

Deer-auto crashes decline in U.S. as disease thins herd

Collisions tied to deer in the U.S. fell 3.5 percent as disease cut the population of the animals.

Deer-related vehicle crashes totaled 1.22 million in the 12 months ended June 30, according to a statement Monday from State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the biggest U.S. car and home insurer.

There were "fewer deer to hit this year," Kip Adams, a director at the Quality Deer Management Association, a group that promotes sustainable hunting, said in an interview before the report was released. The population had been cut by car accidents in prior seasons "plus a lot of deer dying of disease," Adams said.

Crashes are most common in October and November, which are in the mating season for deer, the Bloomington, Illinois-based insurer said. Collisions cost an average of $3,414 in property damage nationwide, a 3.3 percent increase from a year earlier.

"We've seen up to $6,000," said Dave Huskey, who manages Minor Wreck Express, an auto repair business in Iowa. He said engineering advances have helped protect people inside the cars, though vehicles are still vulnerable to damage, often involving bumpers, side panels and windshields.

"The cars look worse because they're absorbing the impact rather than passing it on to the passengers," Huskey said in a telephone interview. "It takes a lot of damage to get inside the frame."

Reports of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease spiked in 2012 for deer from Louisiana to Montana. The virus spreads through biting flies, or midges, and causes fever and internal bleeding.

"With the tendency toward warmer, shorter winters, the midge is reaching higher levels," said Brent Rudolph, a wildlife research specialist with Michigan's Department of Natural Resources. The heat "creates conditions that are really good for the midges."

Rudolph said there were about 15,000 deaths reported from the disease in Michigan in the summer. That compares with "a few thousand" in prior years, he said.

West Virginia led the country for the seventh straight year as the state where motorists are most likely to hit a deer, according to the report. One in 41 drivers there will probably strike a deer in the next 12 months, the insurer said. Montana drivers are next most likely to crash, followed by vehicle operators in Iowa, South Dakota and Pennsylvania.

Hawaii has the lowest chance of collisions, with odds of about 1-in-6,787. New York drivers are the 24th most likely to have deer-related mishaps among the 50 states, with a 1-in-157 chance. California, Florida and Texas were all classified by the insurer as low-risk states.

"What we have are roads at the bottom of hills and ridge tops, and roads near streams and valleys," said James Anderson, director of West Virginia University's Environmental Research Center. "In other places there are more defined crossing areas, and here deer will cross just about anywhere."

West Virginia, known as the Mountain State, is heavily forested and has winding roads that decrease visibility for drivers and animals.

Deer are most active between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and often travel in groups, meaning that if one is visible, drivers should be on guard for more nearby, State Farm said. If a collision seems inevitable, State Farm advises drivers to avoid swerving, which can cause loss of vehicle control and put other motorists at risk.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • Has the ipad lost its swag?

    July 24, 2014