KY Department of Highways District Two
Deer Increase Roadway Hazards In Fall Months

Press Release Date:  Thursday, October 13, 2005  
Contact Information:  CONTACT: Keith Todd
(270) 898-2431 Ext. 233




For Immediate Release




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Deer Increase Roadway Hazards In Fall Months


Paducah, KY – (October 13, 2004) –   Cool fall weather brings the start of deer mating season.   It combines with pressures from hunters in the woods and farmers harvesting crops to put deer on the move.   The additional movement means more deer crossing area roadways increasing the number of collisions between deer and vehicles.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Department of Highways is joining with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officials and the Kentucky State Police to warn motorists to be on the lookout for deer, especially in October and November. 

“Most people don’t realize that about 100 Americans are killed each year in traffic crashes caused by deer,” said Chief District Engineer Ted Merryman.  “The average deer/vehicle collision causes about $2,000 in damage.  In 2004, drivers were expected to hit 1.8 million deer nationwide.”

In 2002, 3,300 deer/auto collisions were reported in Kentucky.  Many more go unreported.   Police reports showed 194 injuries to motorists in Kentucky with three deaths attributed to deer.  Police believe some additional nighttime single car fatal crashes may also be caused by drivers swerving to avoid deer.

“While the number of fatalities caused by deer is relatively low in Kentucky as compared to the nation, nearly 50 percent of all collisions with deer occur during October, November and December,” Merryman said.  That’s why we’re taking the time to remind everyone to be alert for deer crossing area highways.”

Crittenden County Deputy Sheriff Ryan Orr can testify to the dangers deer can pose.   Orr was on patrol October 16th of last year when a collision with a deer left him unhurt but totaled his cruiser.

“Even with the pursuit and driver safety training I received at the academy, it’s tough to miss a running deer appearing out of the darkness from the roadside,” Orr said.  “It’s a natural reaction to swerve to miss an animal.  The important thing to remember is not to swerve into oncoming traffic or into a ditch.”

Based on his observation of dead deer along roadways, Deputy Orr believes may accidents involving deer go unreported to law enforcement agencies.

 “The Transportation Cabinet has placed ‘Deer Crossing’ warning signs in areas where deer are known to commonly cross highways.  However, deer can show up in unexpected places as they increase their movement during mating season.  That prompts the need for extra caution when you are driving this time of year,” said Kenny Potts, District Two Transportation Engineering Branch Manager for Traffic.

One of the more unpleasant duties that Transportation Cabinet employees have is to remove dead deer from the highways.   In October last year Department of Highways Crittenden County maintenance personnel picked up 50 dead deer in one week.

“When you spot an area where you’ve seen dead deer along the roadway slow down and be alert because that’s a sign deer are moving in the area.  If you spot a dead deer in the traveled portion of the roadway where it creates a traffic hazard, please contact your local highway department district office or notify your local state highway garage of the location,” said Henry Luken, District One Transportation Engineering Branch Manager for Operations.

Highway accidents involving deer usually increase around mid-October, peaking around the second week of November and dropping off after December 15th.