If you’re planning on taking a drive to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage, bear in mind that‚ this is peak season for deer-vehicle collisions.
A just-released report from State Farm‚ reveals that while the number of miles driven by U.S. motorists over the past five years has increased just 2 percent, the number of deer-vehicle collisions in this country during that time has grown by ten times that amount.
State Farm estimates some 2.3 million collisions between deer and vehicles occurred in the U.S. during the two-year period between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2010‚ an increase of 21 percent in five years.
The average property damage cost of these incidents was $3,103, up 1.7 percent from a year ago. Furthermore,Ã‚ about 200 fatalities each year are caused by deer-vehicle collisions, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
These collisions are more frequent during the deer migration and mating season which runs from October through December. The combination of growing deer populations and the displacement of deer habitat caused by urban sprawl are producing increasingly hazardous conditions for motorists and deer.
So in which states are drivers and deer most at risk?
For the fourth year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of those states where a driver is most likely to collide with a deer. State Farm calculates the chances of a West Virginia driver striking a deer over the next 12 months at 1 in 42.
Iowa (1 in 67) is second on the list, followed by Michigan (1 in 70), South Dakota (1 in 76) and Montana (1 in 82). The state in which deer-vehicle collisions are least likely is still Hawaii (1 in 13,011).
Note: State Farm now calculates the likelihood of deer-vehicle collisions using the number of licensed drivers instead of number of registered vehicles against its claims data.
Check out this map to see if you live in a high risk state: