Motorists urged to watch out for deer
The Tennessee Department of Safety cautions motorists to watch out for deer, especially during the months prone to deer-related crashes, October through December.
Department of Safety Commis-sioner David Mitchell reminds motorists that, “November, when deer mating and deer hunting seasons start, is the worst month for deer-related crashes.”
Deer-related crashes are on the rise in Tennessee as urban growth encroaches into rural areas. In 2006, there were 5,884 deer-related crashes, including 289 that involved injuries and two that were fatal. That was up 19 percent from 4,942 in 2005. Since 2003, deer-related crashes in Tennessee have risen over 33 percent.
In 2006, the month of November recorded 1,334 deer-related crashes, by far the highest month for such crashes. December and October were the second and third highest months, which saw double the average number of deer-related crashes throughout the year.
“Motorists should be particularly cautious when driving during early morning and early evening hours when deer move out to feed,” stresses TWRA Chief of Information and Education Don King.
Between 2003 and 2006, only 7.8 percent of deer-related crashes occurred on interstate highways, so motorists should exercise extra caution when not traveling on a major thoroughfare. The TWRA advises motorists to consider taking the following measures to help prevent a deer-related crash during the peak mating and hunting season:
• Whenever you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow. Many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit.
• If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal as they are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human.
• Tennessee is unique in that by law, deer killed in collisions may be taken and utilized as food. All that is required is a phone call to the nearest TWRA regional office to report the accident. More information is available on the TWRA Web site at www.tnwildlife.org.
Published in The Messenger on 10.09.07