Sharp rise in fatal road incidents involving animals

12.00 | 3 December 2012 | | 2 comments

There has been a sharp rise in the number of fatal road crashes involving animals, according to figures released by the DfT (Telegraph).

Eight people were killed last year, compared with one in 2010 and six in 2009. Details of the crashes are unclear but are believed to have involved collisions with deer or sheep.

Last year, fatalities were reported by police in North Yorkshire, Humberside, Warwickshire, Norfolk, Thames Valley, Wiltshire, Strathclyde and northern Scotland.

Andrew Howard, the AA’s head of road safety, said: “We have pointed out that these animals do cover large areas of the country. If you hit them, you should not assume that you are going to escape scot-free.”

Jochen Langbein, who runs a deer collisions website, believes the number of incidents is under-reported. He points out that if the car hits a dead animal then it is classed as an object and not recorded.

In a study for the Highways Agency, Mr Langbeln found that 65% of deer-related incidents took place in south east and eastern England. His report claims there are at least 350 human injuries a year costing the economy an estimated £24 million.

Mr Langbeln recommended detailed research into more than 50 deer collision hotspots to see what can be done to reduce the number of accidents.

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.


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    The study Mr Langbein undertook involved all severities of injuries to people, not just fatalities. North Yorkshire County Council was a participant and we provided details of each collision from reading and summarising each Stats 19 report, not just by running a search on the causation factors. The data we provided was, therefore, as accurate and detailed as possible. The Telegraph article has chosen to focus on fatalities which is their editorial decision.

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    The only contributory factor available to officers attending the scene is ‘109 – Animal or object in carriageway’ which means it’s impossible to carry out analysis on the number of recorded injuries due to any animal, let alone deer.

    Often the officer’s description of the collision will include reference to ‘an animal’ or specific genus. If these descriptions were collated centrally by the DfT then it may be possible to get some idea of the extent of the problem. Unfortunately these descriptions are only retained by individual forces.

    Using deaths is an unreliable method of assessing risk in this case as the numbers are too small to be meaningful for trend analysis.

    Richard Owen, Banbury
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