Data shows declining odds of Utah drivers vs. deer

SALT LAKE CITY—Utah drivers are nearly 10 percent less likely to collide with a deer in the next 12 months than they were last year, according to new claims data from State Farm. The data indicates the odds drivers will hit a deer in Utah in the coming year are one out of 226, compared to the national odds of one in 169.

“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 auto-deer collisions,” said Ron Regan, executive director for the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. “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. Deer populations are also affected by conditions such as new or improved roads with higher speeds near deer habitat, changes to hunting seasons to manage wildlife, winter conditions, and other related factors.”

Using its claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, State Farm calculates the chances of any single American motorist striking a deer over the next 12 months state by state.

Deer collision facts

  • The national cost per claim average is $3,888, up 13.9 percent from 2013 when the average was $3,414.
  • The months a driver is most likely to collide with a deer in Utah, mostly due to mating and hunting seasons, are:
  1. November
  2. October
  3. December
  • For the eighth year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of states where a collision is most likely with 1- in-39 odds. Hawaii rounds out the bottom of the list, also for the eighth year in a row, with 1-in-10,281 odds.

Avoid becoming a statistic9903575414_b5d9fc8d75_o

Injuries, vehicle damage and fatalities all can result from vehicle collisions with deer. In 2012, 175 deaths were the result of collisions with animals, with deer being the animal most often struck, according to the Insurance Information Institute and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These tips could help drivers avoid a collision:

  • Use extra caution in known deer zones
  • Always wear your seatbelt
  • At night, when there is no oncoming traffic, use high beams
  • Avoid swerving when you see a deer
  • Scan the road for deer and other danger signs
  • Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles

And here are some deer facts that all drivers should know:

  • Deer are on all roads
  • Deer are unpredictable
  • Deer often move in groups
  • Deer movement is most prevalent in the fall
  • Dusk and dawn are high risk times

“Whether you live in Utah or Hawaii, it’s important that all drivers are practicing safe driving habits and watching out for animals on the road,” said Angela Thorpe, company spokeswoman. “Wearing your seat belt and practicing defensive driving tactics could make a significant difference.”

Methodology

Using its claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, State Farm calculates the chances of any single American motorist striking a deer during the time frame of July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The data has been projected for the insurance industry as a whole, based on the State Farm personal vehicle market penetration within each state. The State Farm data is based on comprehensive and collision claims only. Claims involving policyholders with liability insurance coverage only are not included.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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