(Radio Iowa) – An annual survey by State Farm Insurance on deer/vehicle crashes shows a mixed result for Iowa. State Farm spokesperson, Ann Avery, says they survey their claims and accident reports from federal officials to make an annual ranking of states where hitting a deer is most likely. “Iowa has moved up one spot to third this year,” Avery says.
But the good news is the overall chance of hitting a deer in any state is down. “We find that U.S. deer/vehicle collisions have declined overall, and in Iowa the likelihood has declined as well, despite the fact that they have moved up one spot in the rankings,” Avery says. The likelihood of hitting a deer declined by 9-percent in Iowa. West Virginia topped the list of states where you are most likely to run into a deer for the 7th year in a row. Hawaii was again at the bottom of the rankings.
Avery says they can’t say how the individual deer populations in each state impact the rankings — but does say efforts to let people know about the dangers of such collisions can help in any state reduce its collisions. “We liked to think it’s due in part at least to the amount of attention that’s being drawn to this issue — because awareness is very important,” Avery says. “Especially in these coming months when the likelihood (of a collision) is at a peak.”
She says avoiding collisions is important for safety reasons and it can also prevent costly repairs. “They average property-damage costs of these kinds of incidents during the final half of 2012 and the first half of 2013 was $3,414 — up 3.3-percent from the year before,” Avery explains.
Avery has these tips for drivers to avoid hitting a deer. “Deer generally travel in herds — so if you see one, there’s a strong possibility that others are nearby,” Avery says. She says be aware of the deer crossing signs as they indicate areas where the deer are known to roam. “And we also want you to remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.” State Farm estimates there were 1.22-million deer collisions between July first of 2012 and June 30th of 2013, a 3.5-percent reduction compared to last year.