Motor vehicle crashes involving deer peak during the fall months, and the problem of motor vehicle-deer crashes continues to grow in North Carolina. The UNC Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) has recently released a data analysis of these types of crashes for 2006.
While general crash numbers are increasing, the data is showing a decrease in the number of fatal injuries occurring as a result of motor vehicle-deer crashes. In total, 17,236 deer-related crashes occurred in North Carolina, with 3 fatal injury crashes — down from 9 fatal crashes in 2005.
"We were pleased to see a decrease in the number of fatal crashes involving deer in 2006. But motor vehicle-deer crashes are growing in magnitude and tend to be an issue for motorists in North Carolina and many other states in the U.S.," said Eric Rodgman, senior database analyst for HSRC and lead analyst of 2006 deer crash reports. "As in any driving situation, we want to encourage motorists to drive with caution and alertness, especially at those times when deer crashes tend to occur with more frequency."
Deer-vehicle crashes tend to occur most frequently in the months of October, November, and December. These types of crashes are also more likely to occur between the hours of 5 am and 7 am and between 6 pm and midnight. Crashes involving deer comprised 8.5 percent of all reportable crashes in the state in 2006, up 1 percent from 2005.
In a county by county comparison of the data, Wake County topped the list again this year with 964 reported deer crashes. Following behind were Guilford County (602) and Rockingham County (496). The least number of reported crashes were evenly distributed among Swain, Jackson and Graham Counties, each reporting 3 crashes.
The analysis is derived from the narratives of the crash reports submitted by investigating law enforcement officers following deer-vehicle crashes reported to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles in 2004. Therefore, these figures only reflect the total number of reported deer-related crashes. There is evidence that a great many more of these crashes occur than are reported to law enforcement agencies.
Download complete county-by-county crash data.
The UNC Highway Safety Research Center offers the following tips for lowering your risk of a crash with a deer.
For more information on animal-vehicle crashes, please visit www.hsrc.unc.edu/safety_info/animal_vehicle/index.cfm.
The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center
730 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Suite 300 | Campus Box 3430 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430
Phone: 919.962.2203 | Fax: 919.962.8710