Dangerous crashes involving vehicles and wildlife are on the rise and so too are human fatalities, a new insurance industry study says. The report published today by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety comes at the peak season for such collisions. More deer and more vehicles add up to more collisions, reports USA Today.
The insurance study notes an average 25% increase over the past decade in motorists killed in collisions with animals. In 2003, 201 people died in such accidents, the most ever. The toll was 27% more than the previous year and 53% higher than 10 years earlier. Although the number of fatalities is relatively small (less than 1% of the more than 38,000 deaths a year on U.S. roads), the cost of animal-vehicle crashes is high. Various studies estimate that more than 1.5 million wildlife collisions a year cause at least $1.5 billion in vehicle damage, tens of thousands of injuries and uncounted dead animals.