The Illinois Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that deer versus vehicle crashes decreased again in 2013, with Madison County leading the state in those accidents.
With 432 deer versus vehicle accidents in 2013, Madison County barely topped Cook County, which had 426. Will County, just to the south of Cook County, came in a distant third with 373 vehicle and deer crashes. St. Clair County did not rank in the top 10.
Statewide, the number of such accidents declined from 15,495 in 2012 to 15,334 last year. Accidents involving deer were responsible for six fatalities in 2013, an increase from four fatalities in 2012, IDOT said. The number of injuries in these types of accidents also increased, from 608 in 2012 to 617 in 2013.
About 80 percent of crashes occurred on rural road roads and almost 80 percent happened at twilight or night. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of all accidents involving deer in a typical year occur during the months of October, November, and December – with November being the highest-risk month, IDOT said.
The driver involved in an accident with a deer can take possession of the animal, although IDOT discourages attempting to remove a dead or injured deer from a busy roadway. If the driver does not want the deer, any Illinois Resident can claim it.
The person who takes possession of the deer is not required to phone in a report and obtain a registration for the deer, IDOT said, unless the deer is taken to a taxidermist or a tannery. Residents should call the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Office of Law Enforcement, at 217-782-6431 to obtain a tag before delivering the deer to a taxidermist or a tannery.
IDOT offered the following suggestions for motorists to avoid hitting a deer:
- Be particularly cautious at dusk and dawn, when deer are most active
- Keep track of locations where deer have been spotted in the past to avoid being surprised
- Reduce speed and be prepared to stop, especially near water, farm fields and wooded areas
- Deer will cross the road and double back. Make sure deer have moved away before proceeding
- Be mindful that deer will follow each other. One deer can mean others are nearby or close behind
- Avoid swerving into traffic or off the road if deer are on the roadway. Instead, slow to a stop and wait for the deer to move along
- Flashing the headlights and honking the car horn will encourage deer to move off the road
- Alert other motorists to the presence of deer by tapping the brakes
The top 10 counties for collisions involving deer in 2013 were:
- Madison – 432
- Cook – 426
- Will – 373
- Peoria – 372
- Lake – 352
- Fulton – 342
- Sangamon – 323
- Kane – 311
- Pike – 297
- Rock Island – 297