Deer an active threat to motorists
The roads and highways aren't just filled with shoppers.
Dead deer have littered roadways across Western Pennsylvania in increasing numbers for weeks. November has the most collisions on average between cars and deer.
Nearly one in five car-versus-deer accidents happen in November, according to State Farm insurance.
“We have deer kills on highways all year around,” said Jay Ofsanik, a safety officer with PennDOT in Uniontown. “But right now, it's a season you will see more deer hit for a number of reasons.”
For one, it's mating season, and two, bow hunters are in the woods. Both cause deer to be more active.
“When we have more deer movement, they are going to go across roads,” Ofsanik said. “And when that happens, you are going to have more unfortunate interactions between deer and cars.”
The fact that it gets dark earlier is a factor, Ofsanik said. Deer feed at night, and more people are driving after dark, he said.
“People need to be more aware of those issues,” Ofsanik said, particularly people who drive in Pennsylvania, which consistently ranks near the top in deer-related collisions.
During the next year, State Farm estimates a national high of 114,933 vehicles in Pennsylvania will strike a deer. That nearly doubles North Carolina's forecast of 59,270 — the second highest.
About one in 76.5 licensed drivers in Pennsylvania will hit a deer during the next year. West Virginia once again leads the nation, with one in 41 motorists facing such collisions. The national average is projected at one in 174.
Nationally, the presence of deer caused 1.22 million motor-vehicle accidents between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, according to State Farm. That was a 3.5 percent drop from the previous year.
“This data is encouraging,” said Chris Mullen, director of strategic resources at State Farm. “We would like to think the attention we call to this issue each fall has had an impact.”
PennDOT officials do not have monthly figures for deer-related crashes.
From 2008 through 2012, the agency documented 22,575 deer-related crashes on Pennsylvania roads causing 6,709 injuries and 59 deaths.
During that period, the seven-county Pittsburgh region experienced 4,285 deer-related crashes. Nearly a third happened on Allegheny County roads.
Those crashes resulted in 1,214 injuries and nine deaths. Four fatalities occurred in Westmoreland County, which tied Dauphin County for the most over that period.
“It's not just the deer that are dying out there,” Ofsanik said. “And it's not just out in rural areas. We're seeing them a lot in the suburbs.”
Motorists should heighten awareness of their surroundings, though collisions with deer sometimes are unavoidable, Ofsanik said.
“(People) know the roadways. They know where they see deer in certain areas,” he said. “And if you see one, look out. They generally move in groups.”
Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Gas industry remedies ‘brain drain’ in Western Pennsylvania
- Judge lifts order blocking racy state emails
- Police swarm Pennsylvania mountains in search for trooper’s killer
- Armed officers comb woods for state trooper ambush suspect
- Comcast cuts showings of anti-pigeon shooting commercial featuring Barker
- Pennsylvania teachers sue union over nonmember fee donations
- Manchin, Toomey to seek greater flexibility for veterans’ career counselors
- Police: Barracks ambush suspect sought mass murder
- Search for trooper ambush suspect centers on dense woods
- Retiring circuit judge, a Carnegie native, ‘helped tutor generations’