Deer-related vehicle accidents increase by astronomical number

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JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Insurance Information Service released a report Friday warning drivers to be extremely cautious of deer on the road throughout the last three months of the year.

The Missouri Department of Conservation and Department of Transportation compiled data showing nearly 8,200 deer and motor vehicle encounters in 2014, which is 2,929 more than the previous year.

“It’s an astronomical number, really,” Missouri Insurance Information Service Executive Director Calvin Call said. “So we felt we need to warn people, especially this time of the year.”

Call said the three major reasons for the increased numbers this time of year are hunting, crop harvesting and the presence of mating season. He also said a lot of the responsibility relies on the awareness of drivers.

“These are accidents that could be prevented if drivers were more aware while driving and knew how to react when they encounter a deer,” Call said.

Call also said the damage costs from these encounters equated to around $33 million, about $12 million more than 2013.

The Missouri Insurance Information Service’s news release said that most severe deer-related accidents happen when a driver tries to avoid a deer.

“Our role is to advise drivers on how to avoid these types of accidents,” Administrative Assistant Brent Butler said. “We don’t deal as much with the numbers, but we try to keep them down.”

Missouri’s Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration, or DIFP, released a video this morning with tips on how to stay safe from deer accidents this season.