Thursday, October 7, 2010

Oh, deer! Motor vehicle-deer accident season

That horrible crunching sound you just heard may be a $3,000 wound to your family Ford - or other fine car.

This is the time of year when deer begin to move about more often. Not surprising then the incidents of deer taking a collision course with a motor vehicle are on the uptick as well.

Most such accidents occur from October through January. That's not an accident of its own, either.

Ohio Division of Wildlife biologists note that male deer - called bucks - are entering the so-called "rut," a time when they are on the prowl for a doe in heat. The rut in Ohio typically peaks right around Veteran's Day, Nov. 11.

Throwing caution to the wind, bucks will often chase does across highways and are just as likely to ignore the sound of a car horn being set off by a panic-stricken driver.

In Ohio last year, the state recorded 25,146 deer-motor vehicle accidents, a 2.3 percent increase over that seen in 2008. From these accidents were a reported 1,004 human injuries along with four fatalities, says the Ohio Insurance Institute.

As for the most hazardous times of the day, the Ohio Highway Patrol, the Wildlife Division and Ohio Insurance Institute reports that between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. followed by 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. are the most frequent periods when such accidents occur.

And the average repair bill runs in the neighborhood of about $3,000 with accidents that result in personal injury costing even more.

Ohio's top counties for deer-motor vehicle accidents in 2009 were: Richland (721), Stark (655), Hamilton (614), Summit (575), and Lorain (547).

Locally for both The News-Herald and The Morning Journal readership areas, the 2009 deer-motor vehicle accident figures were (with 2008 figures in parentheses): Lake - 278 (258), Geauga - 307 (324), Cuyahoga - 419 (459), Ashtabula - 267 (277), Trumbull - 428 (467), Medina - 371 (370), Huron - 289 (245), Sandusky - 344 (306).

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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