State Department of Safety Urges Motorist to Watch Out for Deer

October 22, 2008

NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Department of Safety cautions motorists to watch out for deer, especially during the months of October through December, which is deer mating season. Deer are on the move during this period, meaning an increase in deer-related crashes is more likely.

“Deer pose a danger to drivers throughout the year, but especially in the fall. Recently, a woman was killed in Montgomery County after the motorcycle she was riding on crashed trying to avoid a deer,” stated THP Colonel Mike Walker. “It is important that drivers always pay attention and stay alert.”

In 2007, there were 5,104 deer-related crashes, including 257 that involved injuries and one that was fatal. That was down 13 percent from 5,839 in 2006, but since 2003, deer-related crashes in Tennessee have risen almost 17 percent.

Between 2003 and 2007, only 7.9 percent of deer-related crashes occurred on interstate highways, so motorists should exercise extra caution when not traveling on a major thoroughfare. November, when deer hunting season starts, is the worst month for deer-related crashes.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has these tips for drivers to help prevent deer-related crashes during peak mating and hunting seasons:

• Whenever you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow. Many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit.
• Be attentive, especially at daybreak and dusk, when deer tend to be on the move.
• If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal. They are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human.
• Tennessee law allows deer killed in a collision to be taken and used as food, as long as you contact the nearest TWRA regional office to report the accident within 48 hours.

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