Drivers beware! Car-deer collisions on the rise

By Dan Wells - bio | email

Each year, deer-vehicle crashes cause more than 150 deaths and tens of thousands of injuries, not to mention racking up $1.1 billion in property damage.

In the past 15 years, the number of car and deer collisions has doubled.

"So far this year between our four locations, we've seen about 20 car accidents involving deer, so this year it seems to be up from what it was last year at this time," said Joe Sanfillipo with USA Collision Center.

At USA Collision Center, repair work is jumping this time of year. November can be especially dangerous for drivers.

Every year, 1.5 million vehicles collide with deer. According to the Ohio Insurance Institute, the top five counties with the highest number of reported deer-vehicle collisions in 2007 were Hamilton with 705, Knox with 619, Richland with 571, Summit with 547 and Delaware with 540 accidents.

Environmentalists say when you see a deer on the side of the road, you car will often startle them and cause them to run across the road.

On average, a deer-vehicle collision costs $2,800 per insurance claim. If there is an injury, the claims average jumps to about $10,000.

To make matters worse for drivers, collision repair costs are also on the rise too.

"This year we're right around the $1,500 range," said Sanfillipo. "It seems to be the magic number, but we have seen a low as $500 where they're just barely grazing the car to where they have actually rolled over the car and over the roof so that at point it like 4 to 5 thousand dollars easily."

Most accidents take place from 6 p.m. to midnight and during the pre-dawn hours, so if your out, be careful.

More tips on avoiding collisions are available by clicking here.