Deer-vehicle collisions up in Colorado, down nationally

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— Deer are getting a break this year according to a survey that shows deer-vehicle collisions are down 4.2 percent nationwide compared with last year.

The survey, which was conducted by State Farm, also showed the chances of hitting a deer in your car have increased in Colorado. The state now ranks 37th in the nation for deer-vehicle collisions, an increase from last year’s rank of 40th. Colorado is considered a low-risk state, with a one in 307 likelihood of a deer-vehicle collision, or about 0.3 percent.

Of the 3.7 million licensed drivers in Colorado, there were 11,940 deer-vehicle collisions between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, State Farm’s public affairs representative Angela Thorpe said.

“Deer hits are pretty frequent. Years ago, half of the vehicle repairs were deer hits,” said Roland Mercer, owner of Yampa Auto Body in Craig. On average, repairs for a collision with a deer are about $3,500, Mercer said.

Although Colorado is facing an increase in deer-vehicle collisions, Mercer said he has noticed a decrease in the number of deer collision repairs that have come into his shop.

Using the claims data and state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, State Farm calculated the chances of any American motorist hitting a deer within the next 12 months as one in 174 compared with last year’s one in 167 likelihood.

According to the data, most deer-vehicle collisions, 18 percent, take place in November. The high rate is attributed to the fact that November is at the heart of deer hunting and mating season.

“Deer-vehicle collisions are three times more likely to occur on a day in November than they are on any day between Feb. 1 and Aug. 31,” the release stated.

Bear Steadman, a student at Colorado Northwestern Community College, is working as a fall intern for the Craig Daily Press. 

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