Pennsylvania leading the way in projected deer strikes

A recent survey from insurance giant State Farm shows that Pennsylvania has the dubious distinction of being the state most likely to see drivers involved in a deer-versus-vehicle accident based on accident projections. Though the state is ranked third overall in projected animal strikes (including deer, moose, elk and other large mammals), the estimated 141,777 expected deer and vehicle collisions this year is the highest in the nation.

Given these projections, an estimated one out of every 63 drivers in our state might collide with a deer at some point in the year. We discussed the hazards of fall driving in an earlier post, particularly how the rate of car-versus-animal accidents spikes in October and November.

State Farm says that the state’s 141,000 reported deer strikes between July 1, 2017 and June 2018 represented almost 10 percent of the entire country’s claims involving animal collisions. That doesn’t even count strikes of elk, something that has been trending upwards in recent years as elk populations continue to climb.

Animal accidents are not only dangerous for the occupants of vehicles striking animals. Attempting to steer away to avoid a large animal like a deer or elk can easily result in an accident with another vehicle, a pedestrian, a bicyclist, a motorcyclist or even a stationary object like a tree or bridge abutment.  

By comparison, our neighbor to the east, New Jersey, boasts a much lower deer strike rate, with a rate of one of out every 232 drivers hitting a buck or a doe at some point during the year. That represents a fall of 1.6 percent from last year, when the estimated rate was one out of every 229 drivers.