CNNMoney.com/State Farm Insurance
Worst states for auto-deer crashes
Insurance survey finds wrecks are up 6%; costs up too.
November 14 2006: 5:36 PM EST
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Drivers smashing into deer on U.S. roads is an increasing, costly and dangerous problem, according to an insurance survey released Tuesday.
Deer-related car crashes, including wrecks involving elk and moose, are up almost six percent compared to last year's deer season, according to the report by State Farm Insurance.
Deer collisions become more frequent during fall and winter due to deer migration and mating season, which typically occur from October through December.
About 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions happen each year in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Those accidents cause about 150 deaths and $1.1 billion in property damage annually, according to NHTSA.
State Farm policy holders were involved in 192,877 deer-related collisions this year versus 182,458 last year. The average property damage cost was $2,800, $300 more than last year, State Farm said.
Increasing deer populations and the encroachment of urban sprawl into the deer's natural habitat have added to the risk, according to State Farm.
State Farm advises motorists to be aware of "Deer crossing" signs. Drivers should also use high-beam headlights as much as possible and be aware that deer tend to travel in packs. Where there is one, more are probably close behind.
"Deer whistles," devices that attach to the vehicles' front bumpers, have been shown to be ineffective, State Farm said.
Some states have far more deer collisions than others. According to State Farm's claim statistics, the 10 states with the most deer crashes between June 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006 account for more than half of all such claims.