Kansas state troopers are urging motorists to watch out as deer breeding season gets under way.
The season, which lasts from October to December, causes an increase in car-deer collisions as bucks roam widely in search of does.
The number of deer-related accidents topped 8,819 last year, down from 9,952 the year before, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Last year in Kansas, two people died in deer-vehicle accidents and 328 were injured. So far this year, one death and 155 injuries have been recorded.
“Some of the most serious crashes occur when drivers attempt to avoid the animal and lose control of their vehicle. Do not take unsafe evasive actions,” Highway Patrol Superintendent William Seck said in a statement issued Oct. 9. “It is usually safer to strike the deer than another object, such as a tree or another vehicle.”
Already this year, two Sedgwick County sheriff’s personnel have collided with deer, sheriff’s Lt. Bruce Morton said.
One crash happened near dusk this summer when a deer suddenly came out of a ditch as a deputy was driving past and “almost came into the windshield at him,” Morton said. Last week, a sheriff’s supervisor was driving his patrol SUV when a deer burst out of a ditch and struck the SUV’s fender and headlight.
Both vehicles had to be towed but neither law enforcement officer was hurt.
Nationally, deer-vehicle crashes cost more than $1 billion in property damage each year, injure thousands of people and kill more than 150, the Kansas Insurance Department said, citing estimates by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The early 1990s saw an increase in deer-vehicle accidents before starting a general decline around 1999, KDOT records show.
Information from: The Wichita Eagle, www.kansas.com.
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