Minn. - The state departments of Transportation, Public Safety
and Natural Resources urge drivers to take precautions to avoid
deer-vehicle collisions, especially during the fall when most
ranks as one of Mn/DOT's top priorities," said Mn/DOT Deputy
Commissioner Doug Differt. "With 12,000 miles of state highways
and an expanding deer herd, deer-vehicle collisions are a key
safety issue. The risk increases during the fall mating and migration
season when deer are most active," he added.
often dictates the severity of deer-vehicle crashes.
deer-vehicle collisions can cause extensive vehicle damage, most
serious injuries and fatalities are caused by drivers taking evasive
actions," said Kathy Swanson, director of Driver and Vehicle
Services with the Department of Public Safety. "Drivers need
to avoid swerving into oncoming traffic or leaving the road which
can cause them to hit a tree or other object."
of vehicle-deer crashes becomes more critical as traffic increases
throughout the state and as the state's deer herd, estimated by
the DNR at 1.4 million, continues to grow.
Swanson advises that motorists facing an unavoidable crash with
a deer not veer out of their traffic lane or lose control of their
safer to hit a deer than to risk hitting another vehicle or a
fixed object such as a tree," she said. "Apply your
brakes firmly, hold onto the steering wheel and bring your vehicle
to a controlled stop."
If a driver
hits a deer, Swanson advises removing it from the roadway only
if certain that the animal is dead. "An injured deer's sharp
hooves can cause serious injury," she said. "Report
the crash immediately to a law enforcement agency and notify your
In 2002, deer-vehicles crashes resulted in five fatalities; 417
crashes resulted in injuries to travelers.
there were 5,557 deer-related crashes compared to 5,250 crashes
in 2001. Four people died in deer-vehicle crashes in 2001; 424
of the crashes caused injuries.
approximately 19,000 deer-vehicle collisions every year in Minnesota
according to the Deer-Vehicle Crash Information Clearinghouse.
An average of 450 injuries and two deaths occur each year as a
result of crashes or attempts to avoid collisions. Most deer-vehicle
crashes occur in November; the majority take place in Hennepin,
Washington, Anoka and Dakota counties.
advise, however, that the reported number of deer-vehicle crashes
is conservative because they are recorded only when there is an
injury or death or damage exceeding $1,000.
Drivers can improve their safety by following these suggestions: