Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Motorists warned of risk of deer on roads – Especially in Scotland

Deer accidents in Scotland
May 2012. Car accidents involving deer are at their highest at this time of year as young roe deer search for their own territories, warns Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Deer-vehicle collisions often peak in May, as juvenile deer are out on their own for the first time. Because of this, SNH, in conjunction with Transport Scotland, are placing warning messages on variable messaging signs on high-risk trunk roads across Scotland from Monday, 14 May to Friday, 1 June. The signs are targeted on roads with higher rates of deer-vehicle collisions, covering areas of the Central Belt around Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as Stirling, Kinross, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness. Signs warn motorists of the high risk of deer on road.
Increase in lowlands
Not only are accidents at their highest in May, but there has also been an increase in the number of car accidents involving deer in the lowlands and in and around towns. Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) preliminary 2011 figures show that live deer road casualties have more than doubled since 2006. The Scottish SPCA received reports of 200 casualties in 2006, but received over 450 reports in 2011. This increase is likely due to the increased number of roe deer, as more green spaces and woodlands are created in central Scotland.
7000 deer related accidents
Across Scotland, there are more than 7000 deer-related motor vehicle accidents every year, on average causing about 70 human injuries. The economic value of these accidents is £5 million. Across the UK, it's estimated there could be up to 74,000 deer-related motor vehicle accidents a year, resulting in 400 to 700 human injuries and about 20 deaths, with a cost of over £17m.
Jamie Hammond, SNH Deer Management Officer, said: "In light of these figures, drivers should be more aware than ever of the risks of deer on our roads. Many people think most accidents with deer occur on remote Highland roads, but more and more this is something that happens around our cities and towns.
"At this time of the year, we'd ask motorists to slow down and watch for deer crossing in front of traffic. Be particularly alert if you're driving near to woodland where deer can suddenly appear before you have time to brake. If you do hit a deer, report it to the police, as the deer may be fatally injured and suffering."

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