Effect of Wildlife Highway Warning Reflectors on Deer-Vehicle Accident, December 1984

(1984) Effect of Wildlife Highway Warning Reflectors on Deer-Vehicle Accident, December 1984. Transportation, Department of

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Abstract

he number of deer-vehicle accidents in Iowa and around the country has steadily increased during the past 30 years. This i s basically due to: ( 1 ) increased volume of traffic; 12) an expanding network of hard surface roads, especially 4 lane interstates; and (3) a general increase in deer populations. Initidtion of a 55 MPH speed limit in 1974 and gasoline shortages in 1975 reduced deer-vehicle accident rates briefly, but since 1975, rates have continued to climb. Various methods of reducinq these accidents have been attempted in other states. These include: instal lation of rc?flective devlres, deer crossing signs, fencing, underpasses, clearing right--of--waysa,n d controlled hunting to reduce deer population s i z e . These methods have met with varying degrees of success, depending on animal behavior, deet- population fluctuations, method used, topoyr-aphy, road-side vegetation, traffic patterns, and highway configuration. This project was designed to evaluate a new ntethod of reducing deer-vehicle accidents. There are qenerally 4 important aspects of deer-vehicle accidents: danger to human l i f e , vehicle damage, loss of a valuable wildlife resource, and cost of processing accident reports. In !owe, during 1983, there were over 15,OOC) reported deer--vehicle accidents and probably many more that were not reported (Gladfelter 1984). The extent of human injury or death in Iowa i s not known, but studies in southern Michigan show that human injur ies occurred in about 4% of the deer-vehicle accidents (A1 lcn and MrCullough 1976). T h i s would indicate that in Iowa there could have been 200 human injury cases from deer-vehicle accidents i n 1983. These injuries usual 1 occur from secondary collisions when motorists try to avoid a deer on the highway, and hit some other object Vehicle darnaye from these accidents can into thousands of dollars because of the high speed involved and the size of the animal. The total amount of vehicle damage occurring in Iowa is unknown, but if the average vehicle damage was between $500-$800 per accident, estimated property damage would be between $2 1/2--$4 million annually. The value of deer lost in these accidents cannot be estimated, but recreational potential of this natural resource is surely diminished for hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. Also, there ir a great deal of money spent by governmental agencies for manpower to process accident reports and remove dead animals from highways.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Transportation, Improvement Plans, Wildflowers, Deer
Subjects: Transportation > Research
Transportation > Roads and highways
Transportation
ID Code: 13286
Deposited By: Margaret Barr
Deposited On: 02 Jul 2012 18:49
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2012 18:49
URI: http://publications.iowa.gov/id/eprint/13286

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