COLUMBUS – AAA, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Department of Insurance, Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission want to remind motorists of the increase in deer-related traffic crashes this time of year.
Since 2018, statistics from the Ohio State Highway Patrol show there were 104,328 deer-related crashes on Ohio’s roadways. While 95% of deer-related crashes only resulted in property damage, 33 crashes resulted in fatal injuries to motorists, with a total 34 people being killed. Additionally, 47% of these crashes occurred in October, November and December.
“Ohio drivers should keep in mind that deer activity always increases during this time of year – especially at dawn and dusk,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “With Ohio’s strengthened distracted driving laws now in place, we anticipate that more drivers will stay alert to their surroundings, and as a result, we hope fewer deer-related crashes will take place this fall.”
At least 50 deer-related crashes happened in each county, with the highest taking place in Stark, Richland, Hancock and Defiance counties. The routes with the most deer-related crashes were U.S. Route 30, state Route 2, Interstate 71, Interstate 75 and Interstate 77.
“You’re more likely to spot deer when you practice safe driving habits and have your full attention on the roadway,” said Colonel Charles A. Jones, Patrol superintendent. “If you happen to strike a deer, if you’re able, move yourself to a safe place, turn on your hazards and report the crash.”
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife, deer become visibly active in October, November and December. This is due in large part to the fall breeding season, which sometimes causes deer to dart into roadways with little caution. This unpredictable movement
leads to an increase in deer-related vehicle crashes. Drivers are encouraged to be extra cautious in areas where fencerows, riparian corridors or other blocks of forested habitat intersect a roadway.
“With deer activity on the rise, it’s extra important at this time of year to watch for deer,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Deer often move in groups, so if you see one, slow down and be prepared for more to cross the road.”
On average, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission remove more than 13,000 deer carcasses from our roadways each year.
Cost of Deer-Vehicle Collisions:
“In the event of an accident, it’s important to have adequate insurance for financial protection,” Ohio Department of Insurance Director Judith L. French said. “Now is the time for Ohioans to contact their insurance agents to complete an insurance review.”
AAA and the Ohio Department of Insurance remind drivers that the optional comprehensive coverage (also known as “other than collision” coverage) portion of an auto insurance policy often is used to pay for deer-vehicle damage repair. Collision or liability-only policies do not cover the damage. With the vast number of costly deer collisions on Ohio’s roads, it is often a good idea to evaluate maintaining comprehensive coverage, even with older vehicles.
“While we can’t predict the actions of deer and other animals on the road, anything you can do to help prevent a crash or reduce the damage from an animal-related collision can save money and potentially save lives,” said Public Affairs Manager Kara Hitchens, AAA Club Alliance.
How to avoid animal collisions:
What to do if you hit a deer:
Ohioans with insurance questions can reach out to the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526 or via www.insurance.ohio.gov. The website also contains wide-ranging educational insurance information.
AAA provides more than 63 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited online at AAA.com.
As always, motorists are also reminded they can dial #677 from their mobile device to be connected to the nearest Ohio State Highway Patrol Post during a roadway emergency. A statistical map containing deer-related crash information can be found here and additional information on crash statistics can be found on the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Ohio Statistics and Analytics for Traffic Safety (OSTATS) Dashboards.