Minn. Drivers Look to Avoid Crossing Paths with Deer

October 20, 2003

Minnesota drivers are being reminded to be on the watch for deer over the next couple of months as the beginning of mating and migrating season makes it prime time for deer/car collisions.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, deer/car collisions went up slightly in 2002. More than 5,500 Minnesota drivers hit a deer. These accidents resulted in five deaths and more than 500 injuries.

“It may surprise some people, however, that for every crash that’s reported, we estimate that at least 2 to 3 go unreported,” said Alan Rodgers, Research Analyst with the Department of Public Safety. “That means the number of deer/car collisions should be more like 16,500.”

Nationally, the number of deer/car collisions is on the rise. According to the National Safety Council, there were roughly 520,000 animal related accidents in 2001, up from 490,000 the previous year. 100 people were killed and more than 4,000 were injured. The National Safety Council said the increase could be explained by an increase in the number of registered vehicles, the number of licensed drivers and the vehicle miles driven.

“Fortunately, Minnesota deer-related collisions are not reflecting national numbers. It seems to be more erratic and on a much, much smaller scale,” said Rodgers.

Unfortunately, those crashes are going to cost drivers. The Insurance Federation of Minnesota estimates that each deer/car collision costs the auto industry about $2,000 to $3,500 per comprehensive claim. Experts add that repair costs can sometimes double if the car’s airbags are deployed.

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