Illinois Deer-Vehicle Collisions Increase 25% in Two Year Period

September 26, 2008

Each year, deer-vehicle crashes cause more than 200 deaths and tens of thousands of injuries, while racking up $1.1 billion in property damages. Based upon Erie Insurance’s decade of deer-vehicle collision data, we estimate that about one in every 100 drivers is likely to have a collision with a deer. However, by being aware of the risks and following precautionary measures, drivers can reduce their likelihood of colliding with a deer.

“Erie Insurance is the only insurance company using ten years’ worth of deer claims to perform an in-depth annual analysis of deer-vehicle collisions,” says Darrin Birtciel, rate analyst. “This helps us pinpoint when and where such collisions occur as well as plot trends.”

This year’s analysis revealed:
Overall deer claim frequency has gone down over the past 10 years.
In fact, 2007 had the second lowest number of deer claims since 1998.
Deer claim frequency is highest in West Virginia, New York,
Pennsylvania and Virginia.

In Illinois, deer claims are on the rise. In fact, claim frequency has increased nearly 25 percent over the past two years.

If you live in one of the following counties, you’re more than five times as likely to hit a deer: Jo Daviess, Hancock, Pike, Greene, Crawford and Perry, Jackson, Johnson and Hardin.

What’s it like to hit a deer? Here’s what Henry of Springfield had to say: “After I finished reffing my first NCAA basketball game and was leaving Millikin University to head home, I was coming up a hill and I saw a deer. He was just standing by the road, and as I slowed down, he darted across the road, jumped right in front of me, bounced right up and landed on my roof.”

“By creating awareness of the dangers and safety precautions, we can help drivers avoid accidents and stay safe,” adds Birtciel.

Do the 10-point buck: Erie Insurance, which has tracked deer claims for a decade, suggests bucking the deer-vehicle collision trend through these ten tips.

1. Stay alert, awake and sober.
2. Always wear your seatbelt and drive at a safe, sensible speed for
3. Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and
reflectors to deter deer.
4. Deliberately watch for deer – including the reflection of deer eyes and deer silhouettes on the shoulder of the road – particularly when
driving late at night or early in the morning.
5. Use high-beam headlights at night when there is no opposing traffic.
6. If you encounter a deer, assume nothing, slow down and blow your horn to urge the deer to leave the road.
7. If you see a deer in or near your path, brake firmly but stay in your
8. Never swerve your vehicle to avoid striking a deer – if a collision is
imminent, hit it while maintaining full control of your vehicle.
9. If you do strike a deer, and are uncertain whether or not the deer is
dead, keep your distance.
10. If the deer is blocking the roadway, contact the Game Commission or a local law enforcement agency.

Source: Erie Insurance

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