The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022

Motorists urged to watch for deer on roads

Van Wert independent news

COLUMBUS — The Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Department of Insurance and AAA are urging motorists to be extra cautious due to an increase in deer-car crashes during this time of year.

Motorists should be extra mindful of deer crossing roadways this fall. VW independent file photo

Statistics show there have been 100,672 deer-related crashes on Ohio’s roadways since 2016. While 95 percent of deer-related crashes only resulted in property damage, 27 crashes resulted in fatal injuries to motorists, with 28 killed. Additionally, 47 percent of those crashes occurred in October, November, and December, making it the peak time of year for deer-car accidents.

US-30, I-71, I-75 and I-80 are among the leading roadways the state for deer-car crashes. Since 2016, 693 of those crashes occurred in Van Wert County, with 946 occurring in Mercer County, 1,066 more in Paulding County and 1,947 in Allen County.

“Always avoid distractions and keep your full focus on the roadway,” Colonel Richard Fambro of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said. “If you see a deer slow down, but do not swerve. If you strike a deer, move to a safe place if you are able, turn on your hazard lights, and report the crash.”

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), deer become visibly active from late October through November. This is due in large part to the fall breeding season. While males pursue prospective mates throughout the season, they often encounter females that are not yet willing to breed, which can result in pursuits where deer will dart into roadways with little caution. This unpredictable movement leads to an increase in deer-related vehicle crashes.

“As motorists have likely noticed, deer are very visible and active in the fall,” ODNR wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker said. “If you see one deer, be on the lookout for others nearby. Deer rarely run alone.”

The dawn and dusk hours are the most likely times for deer-related crashes. 25 percent of crashes happened between 5 a.m. and 7:59 a.m. and another 32 percent of crashes took place between 6 p.m. and 9:59 p.m.

Recent data estimates the average insurance claim for a deer-vehicle collision in Ohio is more than $4,000.

POSTED: 10/06/21 at 9:56 pm. FILED UNDER: News