Consumer services

Pennsylvania Deer-Car Collision Claims Highest in Nation: Analysis

PENNSYLVANIA – Fall doesn’t just bring beautifully changing scenery to Pennsylvania’s highways and roads, it also brings out the deer. And the mix of cars and deer on the road can not only be costly, but also deadly.

From mid-October to mid-December, the mating season pushes thousands of deer to new territories and often onto the roads. The season also marks the peak of deer-vehicle collisions, with costs reaching up to $1 billion a year in damages nationwide.

According to an annual analysis released by State Farm, Pennsylvania continues to lead the nation in the number of insurance claims filed involving deer-car collisions.

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Across the country, Pennsylvania has had the highest number of animal collision claims, with an estimated total number of animal collisions in the industry of 156,176 claims, according to State Farm. The analysis also shows that one in 57 licensed drivers in Keystone State will strike an animal while driving, with deer being struck most often, followed by ‘unidentified animals’ and rodents.

Between July 2021 and June 2022, an estimated 1.9 million of these types of collisions occurred on U.S. roads (5.5% fewer than in the previous 12 months), according to State Farm analysis .

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While Pennsylvania leads the nation in claims, the state where drivers are most likely to hit an animal is West Virginia, with a 1 in 35 chance. most likely to be hit by drivers are deer (by far), followed by “unidentified animals” and dogs.

Often animal collisions result in fatalities on the road, and often the injury or even death of drivers and passengers. From a material perspective, damage to vehicles can vary wildly, from a scratch or dent to a completely destroyed car, depending on factors such as the speed at which one is driving or the size of the vehicle. animal struck.

The range of animals involved in car accidents is extremely diverse. Although there are differences between states, nationally the top 5 animals most frequently hit by motorists on US roads were: 1. Deer (industry estimated at 1.3 million), 2. Animals not identified (236,000), 3. Rodents (102,000), 4. Dog (60k) and 5. Raccoon (56k).

Under Pennsylvania law, an accident involving a deer or other wild animal is considered a not-at-fault accident, and insurers cannot add a deer-related accident surcharge to your premium. However, this exclusion does not apply if the car does not come into contact with the deer.

Vehicle damage caused by deer-related accidents is covered under full driver coverage.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, dawn and dusk are peak times for deer activity. Additionally, November is when drivers are most likely to have a deer-related accident, according to insurance industry reports. October and December are the second and third most likely months for

animal-related accidents.

Drivers should be aware of the following tips from the American Automobile Association (AAA) to help prevent an accident or reduce collision damage:

  • Pay attention to traffic signs when driving. Yellow diamond-shaped signs with the image of a deer indicate areas with high deer activity.
  • Drivers should constantly scan the road in front of the vehicle for signs of animals and movement. Many accidents are caused by a driver hitting an animal; however, the animal may occasionally crash into the vehicle.
  • Use high beam when there is no oncoming traffic. Generally, the light reflected from their eyes will reveal their location.
  • Slow down and watch for other deer to appear. Deer rarely travel alone; if you see one, there are probably more.
  • Resist the urge to swerve: instead stay in the lane with both hands firmly on the wheel. Getting away from the animals can confuse them and they don’t know where to go. It can also put the vehicle in the path of oncoming vehicles or cause a driver to crash into something else.
  • If the accident is imminent, drivers must take their foot off the brake. During heavy braking, the front of a vehicle is pulled down, which can cause the animal to climb back over the hood toward the windshield. Releasing the brake can protect drivers from windshield collisions, as the animal is more likely to be pushed to the side of the vehicle or onto the roof of the vehicle.
  • Always wear a seat belt. The chances of being injured by hitting an animal are much higher if the driver is not wearing a seat belt.

Fall is deer breeding season, and they may be less aware of their surroundings. It is important to remember to stay alert, fasten your seatbelt and try not to stray. If a collision with an animal is unavoidable, stay on the road.

“Driving the posted speed limit, eliminating in-vehicle distractions, and choosing never to drive impaired are life-saving choices during the peak months of deer mating season,” said the State Police Commissioner Col. Robert Evanchick. “If you hit a deer, stop in a safe area and assess the situation to determine what to do next. If there are injuries that require medical attention, your vehicle needs to be towed, or the roadway is blocked, call 911 immediately.”

In Pennsylvania, two types of accidents must be reported to the police: accidents involving a vehicle
be damaged to the point that it cannot be driven from the scene and crashes resulting in injury or death. Minor collisions or fender bends that do not result in injury can be reported to the police, but this is not legally required.

Drivers involved in an accident with another vehicle are required to exchange their license and insurance
information with the parties concerned and provide assistance if necessary.

To report a dead deer to be removed from state-maintained roads, call the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD. Consumers with questions about auto insurance can contact the Department of Insurance’s Consumer Services Bureau by calling 1-877-881-6388 or visiting www.insurance.pa.gov.


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