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Development & Transportation

Deer Crashes Expected to Increase in PA

Driving in Pittsburgh is notoriously difficult, and increased deer collisions are only going to make it more difficult for people to avoid crashes, especially as deer activity starts to rise during the fall.

Pennsylvania has climbed the chart for highest projected deer crashes, rising from number five, now to number two, according to the 2014 State Farm Deer Collision Report which predicts the number of crashes that will happen during the fall season.

“Right over the border in West Virginia, West Virginia is number one, so for the Pittsburgh area unfortunately both number one and number two are within the driving vicinity,” said State Farm spokesperson Dave Phillips.

One of ten of all deer crashes happen in Pennsylvania, which has one of the highest deer populations in the country. The chances of a collision with a deer in PA are projected to be 1 in 71, increased by 7.8%% from last year. In West Virginia the chances are 1 in 39, up 4.9%. Nationally chances are predicted to increase by up 3% to 1 in 169.

Phillips said the increase could be due to any number of factors, “some lead into the issue of just changes within the deer herd population, a lot of the time urban sprawl, and development, roadways that are being put into what was a once heavily wooded area, all start to contribute to it.”

The national chances for a deer collision are doubled from October- December due to mating, foraging and hunting seasons.  November is the worst month for deer crashes.

On average, a collision with a deer is projected to cost a driver $3,800 in property damage, which has increased by 14% from last year.

According to Phillips, the best thing a driver can do is just stay aware when on the road, and never rely on deer whistles which have no statistical data to prove they work.

“Regardless of what state you’re in, or what odds that state has, you risk is out there to strike a deer if you’re on any roadway. It’s not about rural roads. It’s not about city roads. It’s about the probability,” said Phillips.