Minnesota Drivers Look to Buck Accidents with Deer

November 5, 2004

Minnesota drivers are asked to take warning. This Saturday (Nov. 6) Minnesota’s deer hunting season officially opens, and it’s safe to say that deer, which are already busy mating and migrating, are on the move across the state.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, last year five people were killed after their cars collided with deer. “We saw that same number in 2002,” said Alan Rodgers, research analyst with the Department of Public Safety. “That’s typical when there are no dramatic changes in the deer population or the number of drivers on the road.”

When it comes to deer-related crashes the latest numbers show more than 5,500 Minnesota drivers hit a deer. “It may surprise some people, however, that for every crash that’s reported, we estimate that at least 2 to 3 go unreported,” said Rodgers. “That means the number of deer/car collisions should be more like 16,500 to 20,000. People just don’t take the time to report them.”

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 says the increase could be explained by an increase in drivers and how far people are traveling in their cars.

If someone does get into a crash their insurer will most likely cover the repairs if they have comprehensive coverage. 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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