Unreported Deer Crashes On Major Iowa Highways

Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

PROJECT NUMBER

19-727

START DATE

10/01/19

END DATE

12/31/20

FOCUS AREAS

Safety

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, CTRE
SPONSORS

Iowa Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
John Shaw

Researcher, CTRE

About the research

According to insurance industry data, Iowa consistently ranks among the top 10 states for vehicle-deer collisions. The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) maintains detailed animal crash records based on law enforcement reports, but not all such collisions are reported. For example, drivers have no legal obligation to report a crash if total property damage is less than $1500 and no humans were killed or injured. Staff at the Iowa DOT’s 109 maintenance garages record the number of deer carcasses removed from state primary highways, but not all deer that are struck by motor vehicles die immediately or end up on the pavement or shoulder. Consequently, deer-vehicle collisions are underreported, making it difficult to assess the economic value of countermeasures such as deer fences.

The objective of this research is to support quantitative analysis of Iowa vehicle-deer crashes by identifying methods for improving estimates of their true prevalence. The project will also identify comprehensive costs per crash, including post-crash costs incurred by the public sector, such as labor for carcass removal and the time first-responders spend responding to deer crash scenes and preparing crash reports.

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