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Deer on roads an increasing problem in Virginia, West Virginia

Deer on roads are becoming an increasing threat to drivers, according to a news release from auto insurer State Farm. Virginia and West Virginia are two states in particular where this problem is prevalent.

State Farm's findings show that between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2010, roughly 2.3 million accidents involving drivers hitting deer occurred.  The
percentage of deer-vehicle accidents is up 21.1 percent from 2005, according to the data.

Topping the list of states most likely to have collisions with deer is West Virginia. WVNS-TV reports that drivers in W. Va. have a
one in 45 chance of hitting a deer within the next 12 months. W. Va. has been the state with the highest likelihood of striking deer for four consecutive years.

A portion of Interstate 81 (I-81) near Woodstock proves to be very dangerous for W. Va. drivers. reports that deer, among other things, have been a contributing factor to accidents on I-81 near Woodstock in both directions. 

In Virginia, drivers have a one in 101 chance of hitting a deer on the road within the next year. Richmond, Va. is one city seeing an increase in deer collisions,
according to WTVR-TV. Local body shops in Richmond have reported performing "hundreds of thousands of dollars of repairs related to damage caused by deer" in past deer seasons.

Deer collisions can result in more than vehicle damage and costly repairs. These accidents often result in serious injury and even fatality.
The Institute for Highway Safety reports an estimated 150 people lose their life each year in deer collisions. In 2008, the number of fatalities was over 30% higher than that estimation at 210 fatalities.

According to State Farm, deer collisions occur more often between October and December due to deer mating and migration season. During these seasons drivers should exercise extra caution. State Farm has provided the following
tips to help avoid deer-collisions:

  • Be aware of 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.
  • Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds - if you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby.
  • Do not rely on car-mounted deer whistles.
  • 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.

Our injury attorneys do not accept cases involving unfortunate one car accidents with injuries where the driver loses control solely due to a deer striking their car/vehicle-that is not a negligence claim involving a careless driver of a car.  Should a driver operate their own car recklessly, and cause a separate car accident with injuries, due to over-reaction to a deer on the highway-this may involve negligence.  In property damage incidents caused by deer (without injuries) drivers should contact their own car insurers to handle the vehicle damage.


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