The Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau is offering a video telling drivers how to cope with an imminent car-deer collision. State public-safety Director Kevin Techau introduces the video. One out of every 9 crashes reported to the Iowa DOT involves a deer, Techau says, and in 2003 10 Iowa motorists including four on motorcycles died in crashes with deer…and more than 600 people are injured every year. Techau says because deer crashes often involve only property damage but not the death of a person, and so they think relatively few are actually reported. He says estimates 12-thousand deer are killed each year in roadway collisions with vehicles. Techau also says on the video that seven-thousand motorists DID report crashes with deer last year. Most of the 13-minute program after that is a an educational film produced originally for the “Michigan Deer-Crash Coalition.” Techau says the information fits equally well with Iowa, as both states have seen fast-growing deer population, increased development in wooded areas, and substantial increases in vehicle travel. He reminds drivers to slow down, be alert, wear seatbelts, and “Don’t veer for deer,” the theme of the video. The video goes on to give information on the kinds of landscape most likely to harbor deer, what times of the year the animals they are likely to be most active, and how to cope when a deer appears on the roadway. A Michigan DNR spokeswoman (sound from the video) explains the animals like to move along river corridors or lowland areas, and use brush for cover. She says problems can occur, for instance, where there’s a woodlot on one side of a roadway and crops on the other side. Regardless of how you feel about destroying an animal, a Michigan State patrolman says on the video that a review of years of crash statistics shows very few motorists hurt or killed by hitting a deer — most serious injury crashes happened because a car left the road or hit another vehicle.
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