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RF: Crazy for love | Pamdemonium
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RF: Crazy for love

November 21, 2010

A fine specimen

Some creatures get frisky in the spring. Deer get it on in the fall.

Random Fact learned, courtesy of a court-ordered defensive driving class, that automobile-deer collisions are three times more likely in November than any other month. “They get crazy for love,” our instructor said. This was not the only peril discussed but it got my attention.

Deer mating season usually starts in October and runs through mid-December, but November is particularly dangerous for drivers because dusk falls earlier. Escalating deer populations makes playing the field easier for the deer but puts more drivers at risk.

Fatalities and injuries due to all motor vehicle accidents declined from 2008 to 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). At the same time, animal-vehicle collisions increased 7 percent for one major auto insurer. Insurer USAA reported 69 percent more claims filed last year for animal-vehicle collisions during the fall than in the spring. The number of human deaths from collisions with animals rose nearly 19 percent between 2001 and 2008, from 177 to 210, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

In another measure, a new study by State Farm insurance finds that deer collision claims are up 21 percent over the last five years, even though the miles driven by motorists are only up 2 percent. A recent Consumer Reports car blog links to a study by State Farm that estimates the likelihood by state of a vehicle-deer collision over a 12-month period, based on the number of registered drivers and the insurance industry’s projected number of collisions in each state. With odds.

West Virginia heads the list with odds are 1 in 42. Here’s the rest of the top ten: Iowa (1 in 67), Michigan (1 in 70), South Dakota (1 in 76), Montana (1 in 82), Pennsylvania (1 in 85), North Dakota (1 in 91), Wisconsin (1 in 96), Arkansas (1 in 99), and Minnesota (1 in 100) round the top 10. (Check the odds in your state.)

Tis the season, so take care.

USAA ranked states by frequency of its own vehicle-animal collision claims and put West Virginia on the top of the list, followed by South Dakota, Iowa, Montana, Michigan, Wyoming, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Mississippi.

My defensive driving class was in suburban Nashville (odds of a vehicle-deer collision in Tennessee are 1 in 217 by State Farm’s reckoning) and in the few weeks since, out on hikes, I’ve seen more deer than ever. One morning last week, we saw a 10-point buck and a mile up the trail saw two lesser bucks, with one making a hissing sort of noise, near one very tired doe.

The poor lass had been run ragged.

Read about other driving hazards in my column for The Solar Home & Business Journal, formerly sunpluggers.com.

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