Friday, October 26, 2001
Montana drivers are more likely to be involved in collisions with deer, elk or other wildlife during the fall months of September, October and November than any other time of the year, according to statistics from the Department of Transportation’s Traffic and Safety Bureau.
"An average of 236 vehicular collisions per month with wildlife were reported statewide last year in September, October and November," said Jack Williams, DOT statistician. "In the early spring the average number of monthly collisions with wildlife is in the mid to high 80’s. It increases to an average of 188 collisions per month in June, July and August." Deer travel more during the fall due to breeding activities, hunting impacts and changes in their food sources.
"We’re also seeing the number of reported collisions with wild animals going up year after year," said Jack Williams, DOT statistician. "Fifteen years ago we had 468 wild animals involved in collisions with motorists annually statewide and in 2000 that number was up to 1,865 animals."
According to Williams, this increase may be due to various factors, such as people being more responsible about reporting these collisions and increased traffic in areas where wildlife commonly cross to access water.
Either way, the state takes these numbers seriously, monitoring accident "clusters" and taking appropriate measures to safeguard both the traveling public and Montana’s wildlife. These measures, which include wildlife crossing signs, special fences and innovative animal crossings, can serve as signals to motorists that a given area is high in wildlife activity.
The following precautions can also aid in preventing collisions with wildlife.