Trucks at Work

The deer threat doth rise again. Art thou ready?

Once more into the breach, dear friends, as that yearly time of heightened deer activity doth come round again.

According to data annually analyzed by insurance giant State Farm, motorists in the U.S. drivers are just as likely to have a claim involving a collision with deer, elk or moose this year versus 2014, with the odds calculated at one out of 169.

However, the likelihood of a “deer collision” more than doubles during October, November and December, the insurance firm noted.

And, depending on what state you’re driving in, the risk goes up even higher. Here are the top five states for deer collision-related claims, according to State Farm’s number-crunching:

  • West Virginia: Odds are one in 44, though such a collision is 11.4% less likely to occur versus 2014;
  • Montana: Odds are one in 63, and that’s 19.1% more likely versus last year;
  • Iowa: Odds are one in 68 and that’s 13.2% more likely versus 2014;
  • Pennsylvania: Odds are one in 70, but that’s only 1.4% more likely versus last year;
  • South Dakota: Odds are one in 73, which is 12.3% more likely compared to 2014;

It’s worth noting that fully 10% of the nation’s deer claims occur in Pennsylvania alone (some 126,275 collisions), though West Virginia is still the highest in terms of collision odds when taking into account the number of licensed drivers in those states.

State Farm also estimates that over 1.25 million auto-deer collision claims occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, with a national cost-per-claim average of $4,135; up 6% from 2014.

[Go here for some deer-related collision prevention tips.]

It’s worthy to note that risk factors for such collisions also can increase based on what types of roads are cutting through “deer county.”

For example, State Farm noted that deer-related crash “claim counts” increased by more than 21% in Indiana and more than 13% in Iowa this past year, with the top 10 states staying the same from 2014, just in slightly different order. Why?

“Periods of daily high deer movement around dawn and dusk as well as seasonal behavior patterns, such as during the October-December breeding season, increase the risk for vehicle-deer collisions,” noted Ron Regan, executive director for the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, in commentary last year on this subject.

“Changes in collision rates from year to year are a reflection of changing deer densities or population levels – more deer in a given area increases the potential for collision,” he explained. “Deer populations are also affected by conditions such as new or improved roads with higher speeds near deer habitat, winter conditions, and other related factors.”

Good tips to keep in mind as the season changes, the leaves begin to fall, and more deer are on the move.

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