10/10/12 — Local counties rank high for animal auto wrecks

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Local counties rank high for animal auto wrecks

By From staff reports
Published in News on October 10, 2012 1:46 PM

Three surrounding counties ranked among the top counties in wildlife-related automobile crashes in the state in 2011, as well as for the period of 2009-11.

Duplin was second in the state with 646 such crashes in 2011 and had 1,839 between 2009-11 to rank fourth. Pitt County was fourth in 2011 with 623 and 1,882 to rank second for 2009-2011. Johnston County was fifth with 535 in 2011 and fifth from 2009-11 with 1,574. Wayne County was 28th in 2011 and 2009-11 with 307 and 869 respectively.

Wake County continues to rank first with 1,105 crashes in 2011 and 3,271 between 20099-11. Guilford County was third last year and between 209-11 with 642 and 1,873 respectively.

The rankings for other area counties were: Sampson, 21 and 17 with 331 and 1,001 respectively; Lenoir, 24 and 19 with 325 and 954 respectively; Wilson, 42 and 41 with 200 and 675 respectively; and Greene, 56 and 57 with 131 and 392 respectively.

More than 19,500 animal-related crashes were reported each of the last three years, and 90 percent of those involved deer. Since 2009, the incidents have resulted in 3,498 injuries to people, of which 17 were fatal, and approximately $139.1 million in property damage.

Between 2009 and 2011, there were 61,046 animal-related collisions reported throughout North Carolina.

In order to help reduce the number of wildlife-related automobile crashes, the state Department of Transportation reminds motorists to be aware of the increased presence of deer on state roads during the fall months.

"More deer are being seen in densely populated areas," said Kevin Lacy, state traffic engineer. "Drivers need to be alert at all times. If you can't avoid a deer, it is better to hit it than to lose control of your vehicle and cause a bigger accident."

While a crash involving a deer can happen at any time, the majority of deer-vehicle collisions occur between October and December, when deer activity increases due to mating and hunting seasons.

Crashes are most common during the hours of 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., when deer movement increases and limited lighting makes it more difficult for motorists to see them on or near roadways.