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Utah drivers almost 30% more likely to collide with deer in 2016, State Farm says

By Megan Marsden Christensen  |  Posted Sep 21st, 2016 @ 4:10pm



SALT LAKE CITY — New claims data from State Farm shows Utah drivers are almost 30 percent more likely to collide with a deer than they were in 2015.

One out of every 150 people driving in Utah will hit a deer. Nationally, odds are that one in 164 drivers will hit a deer, State Farm reported.

“Using its claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, State Farm ... calculates the chances of any single American motorist striking a deer, elk or moose during the time frame of July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia,” State Farm officials said in a statement.

“The data has been projected for the insurance industry as a whole, based on the State Farm personal vehicle market penetration within each state. The State Farm data is based on comprehensive and collision claims only. Claims involving policyholders with liability insurance coverage only are not included.”

In the United States, the Beehive State is ranked 29th for the most deer collisions. Primarily because of mating season, it’s most common for drivers in Utah to hit a deer in October, November and December, according to State Farm.

“The national cost per claim average is $3,995 down slightly from 2015 when the average was $4,135,” State Farm officials said in a statement.

State Farm released some tips that may help drivers avoid a collision. The tips include:

  • Paying attention to deer crossing signs
  • Wearing a seat belt at all times
  • Using high beams to see farther when possible
  • Putting on the brakes if possible, but not swerving as it could lead to a worse crash
  • Staying focused on the road and scanning for hazards, including animals
  • Not becoming distracted by things like devices and eating
  • Not relying on products like deer whistles, which are not proven to be effective
  • Wearing protective gear and staying focused on the road if riding a motorcycle

State Farm warned drivers that deer are on all roads, they are unpredictable and they frequently move in groups. Deer movement is most common in the autumn and dusk to dawn are high risk times.

“There is an increased risk of a collision with deer around dawn and dusk, and also during the fall breeding season,” State Farm spokeswoman Angela Thorpe said in a statement. “We encourage drivers to be aware and on the lookout at all times, because you never know when you may need to react to a deer or other obstacle that may unexpectedly be in your path.”

Ashley Green, habitat section chief of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said the Beehive State sees many wildlife vehicle collisions every year, and most of them involve deer.

“Getting the exact number is nearly impossible, and it's really hard to predict how many will occur in any given year. That depends on a lot of things including weather conditions and how many vehicle trips occur within the state,” Green told in an email. “We do document the carcasses that are removed from Utah's major roadways following collisions, so we know where they are occurring. This helps us identify and prioritize areas that may be in need of some work to help decrease wildlife-vehicle collisions including fencing or wildlife crossings.”

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