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Deer in the Headlights: Collisions on the Rise in Arkansas

Arkansas moves up to 9th on collision risk ranking with ratio of 1 in 89 drivers.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) - The odds that an individual driver in the United States will crash into a deer during the next year have declined by 4 percent. Using its claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, State Farm, the nation’s leading auto insurer, calculates the chances of any single American motorist striking a deer over the next 12 months at 1 in 174, compared with 1 in 167 the year before.

State Farm spokesperson, Gary Stephenson of North Little Rock, said, “While this decrease was certainly good news on a national basis, the news for Arkansas drivers is not so good, as Arkansas has now moved into the national top ten in terms of the risk of a deer collision. For the year ending June 30, 2013, Arkansas had the ninth highest ratio of deer collision claims in the nation, compared to twelfth the previous year.”

STATES WITH MOST NUMEROUS DEER COLLISIONS
For the seventh year in a row, deer-vehicle collisions were most probable in West Virginia. The chances of any single licensed driver in that state hitting a deer over the last year were 1 in 41, compared to 1 in 38 the year before. That is about an 8 percent improvement from that state’s risk ratio, but still a very high risk.  Montana, (1 in 65) remains second on the likelihood list. Iowa (1 in 73) moves up one spot to third. South Dakota (1 in 75), drops from third to fourth. Pennsylvania (1 in 77) is still fifth. 

Arkansas moved up to number 9, from number 12, climbing past Michigan, North Dakota, and Virginia in the rankings from a year ago. Based on its claims data, market share ratio in the state, and number of licensed drivers, State Farm estimated 21,913 vehicle-deer collisions in Arkansas for the year -- July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. Based on the average property damage bill per claim, this places the cost of deer collisions at approximately $75 million in Arkansas for the year monitored. This does not take into account the number of uninsured vehicles that collided with deer.

The state in which deer-vehicle mishaps are least likely continues to be Hawaii (1 in 6,787). 

COUNTING U.S. DEER-VEHICLE CONFRONTATIONS
State Farm estimates there were 1.22 million deer-related collisions between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013, a 3.5 percent decrease from a year ago. 

While the number of deer-related collisions in the U.S. over the last five years has increased by 2.0 percent, when you account for the larger increase in the number of drivers on the nation’s roadways over that period, the likelihood of any one of those drivers being the victim of a deer-vehicle confrontation has dropped 2.5 percent.

WHEN MOST DEER-VEHICLE COLLISIONS OCCUR
State Farm’s data shows that November, the heart of the deer hunting and mating seasons, is the month during which deer-vehicle encounters are most likely. Approximately 18 percent of all such mishaps take place during the 30 days of November.

Deer-vehicle collisions are three times more likely to occur on a day in November than they are on any day between February 1st and August 31st. October is the second most likely month for a crash involving a deer and a vehicle. December is third.

The average property damage cost of $3,414, for these incidents during the final half of 2012 and the first half of 2013 was up 3.3 percent from the year before.
 
AVOIDING DEER-VEHICLE MISHAPS
State Farm has a long history of supporting auto travel safety issues and efforts, provides the following tips from the Insurance Information Institute on how to reduce the odds of a deer-vehicle collision:
  • Keep in mind that deer generally travel in groups – if you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby.
  • Notice posted deer crossing signs. These are placed in active deer crossing areas.
  • Remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.
  • Use high beam headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roadways.
  • If a deer collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.
  • Don’t rely on car-mounted deer whistles. 
Click here for more deer safety tips.

Watch Out for Animals in the Road.
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