September 25, 2003

State of Michigan reports over 63,000 car-deer crashes in 2002

Dearborn, Michigan – According to the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Centre, there were 63,136 deer-vehicle crashes in 2002, down approximately 4 percent from 65,993 in 2001. However, due to crashes that go unreported, the actual total remains closer to 80,000. On average, there are 173 crashes involving deer every day of the year in Michigan, or one every eight minutes.

A new public awareness campaign announced by the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition (MDCC) is aimed at reducing that figure by telling motorists to be extra alert when driving this fall.

Nearly half of the car-deer collisions occur in the October-to-December mating season when deer are very active, and crashes spike again in spring when the season’s first grass appears along highway rights-of-way. Car-deer crashes peaked in 1996, but have stabilized at slightly lower levels in the six years since.

Michigan’s car-deer crash problem has grown due to several factors. More homes and businesses built in historical deer habitat, along with the state’s deer herd that is nearly four times larger than in 1970, force deer into ever- smaller, more populous areas.

Car-deer crashes in Michigan cause an estimated U.S.$130 million in auto repairs each year. Nationally, reported collisions alone cause an estimated $1.1 billion in damage. One study found that car-deer crashes kill more people in the nation than all commercial airline, train and bus accidents combined in a typical year.

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