Tahlequah Daily Press

Get the scoop!

October 1, 2013

Deer-auto crashes decline in U.S. as disease thins herd

Collisions tied to deer in the U.S. fell 3.5 percent as disease cut the population of the animals.

Deer-related vehicle crashes totaled 1.22 million in the 12 months ended June 30, according to a statement Monday from State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the biggest U.S. car and home insurer.

There were "fewer deer to hit this year," Kip Adams, a director at the Quality Deer Management Association, a group that promotes sustainable hunting, said in an interview before the report was released. The population had been cut by car accidents in prior seasons "plus a lot of deer dying of disease," Adams said.

Crashes are most common in October and November, which are in the mating season for deer, the Bloomington, Illinois-based insurer said. Collisions cost an average of $3,414 in property damage nationwide, a 3.3 percent increase from a year earlier.

"We've seen up to $6,000," said Dave Huskey, who manages Minor Wreck Express, an auto repair business in Iowa. He said engineering advances have helped protect people inside the cars, though vehicles are still vulnerable to damage, often involving bumpers, side panels and windshields.

"The cars look worse because they're absorbing the impact rather than passing it on to the passengers," Huskey said in a telephone interview. "It takes a lot of damage to get inside the frame."

Reports of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease spiked in 2012 for deer from Louisiana to Montana. The virus spreads through biting flies, or midges, and causes fever and internal bleeding.

"With the tendency toward warmer, shorter winters, the midge is reaching higher levels," said Brent Rudolph, a wildlife research specialist with Michigan's Department of Natural Resources. The heat "creates conditions that are really good for the midges."

Rudolph said there were about 15,000 deaths reported from the disease in Michigan in the summer. That compares with "a few thousand" in prior years, he said.

West Virginia led the country for the seventh straight year as the state where motorists are most likely to hit a deer, according to the report. One in 41 drivers there will probably strike a deer in the next 12 months, the insurer said. Montana drivers are next most likely to crash, followed by vehicle operators in Iowa, South Dakota and Pennsylvania.

Hawaii has the lowest chance of collisions, with odds of about 1-in-6,787. New York drivers are the 24th most likely to have deer-related mishaps among the 50 states, with a 1-in-157 chance. California, Florida and Texas were all classified by the insurer as low-risk states.

"What we have are roads at the bottom of hills and ridge tops, and roads near streams and valleys," said James Anderson, director of West Virginia University's Environmental Research Center. "In other places there are more defined crossing areas, and here deer will cross just about anywhere."

West Virginia, known as the Mountain State, is heavily forested and has winding roads that decrease visibility for drivers and animals.

Deer are most active between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and often travel in groups, meaning that if one is visible, drivers should be on guard for more nearby, State Farm said. If a collision seems inevitable, State Farm advises drivers to avoid swerving, which can cause loss of vehicle control and put other motorists at risk.

1
Text Only
Get the scoop!
  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • Trials of the Cherokee reflected in their skulls, researchers say

    Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee have found that environmental stressors – from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War – led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people. The findings highlight the role of environmental factors in shaping our physical characteristics.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

Poll

How confident are you that the immunizations for infants and children are reasonably safe?

Not at all confident.
Somewhat confident.
Relatively confident.
Extremely confident.
undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Stocks