Michigan Car-Deer Collisions Drop 4 Percent between 2010 and 2011

Deer in forestAn organization concerned with reducing the number of deer-vehicle collisions that occur in Michigan announced this week that the volume of such crashes in the state fell 4 percent between 2010 and 2011.

The data, made public by the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition, show that there were nearly 53,600 collisions with deer reported to state police in 2011.

Those crashes resulted in eight fatalities and 1,464 injuries, and nearly all resulted in property damage.

Deer-vehicle crashes are a concern for not only drivers but also insurance providers.

Damages from this type of crash will be covered under the comprehensive portion of a policy, which is an optional coverage type that protects owners against things like collisions with animals and damage from weather events and vandalism.

These crashes are especially worrisome for Michigan insurers, since Michigan auto insurance law requires that policies provide unlimited, lifetime medical benefits to policyholders who are injured in a crash.

The average weight of an adult white-tailed deer is between 155 and 203 lbs., according to the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry, which can make for a serious collision.

In Michigan, the chances that a resident will be involved in a deer-vehicle collision in a given year are about 1 in 184. That likelihood varies depending on what part of the state you’re in, however. In places like Alcona County,  which contains part of the Huron National Forest and has many rural roads, there’s about one crash for every 22 residents. In urban Wayne County, which includes Detroit, there’s about one crash for every 4,700 residents.

Organizations like the coalition are releasing such statistics now in order to raise awareness of the heightened hazard of deer on the roadway now that it’s the beginning of their mating season, when deer are most active.

According to data from traffic officials in nearby Ohio, deer-vehicle collisions occur during the last three months of the year at a rate that’s two to three times as high as other times of the year.

The coalition gives the following advice to drivers when a crash with a deer is unavoidable:

—Don’t swerve.

—Break firmly.

—Stay in your lane.

Deer-Vehicle Crashes Per Capita, by County

Map Legend
1=Highest deer-vehicle crashes per capita
83=Lowest deer-vehicle crashes per capita
Rank Color Rank Color
1 to 10 41 to 50
11 to 20 51 to 60
21 to 30 61 to 70
31 to 40 70 to 83

The following map shows which counties ranked highest and lowest for deer-vehicle crashes per capita. Click on a county to see its ranking and crash statistics.

(Data is from the U.S. Census and the Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting System)

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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