IN ORDER to avoid accidents, motorists should slow down and be on the lookout for deer on the road in May, the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has warned.
Vehicle accidents involving deer peak at this time of year, as yearling animals disperse, looking for their own territories. Because of this, the Scottish Natural Heritage, in conjunction with Transport Scotland, have been placing warning messages on variable messaging signs on high-risk trunk roads across Scotland since Monday, April 29, until Friday, May 31,
The signs warn motorists of the high risk of deer on road.
The most recent deer-vehicle collisions research shows there are more than 7,000 collisions between motor vehicles and deer every year in Scotland, with an average of 65 of these resulting in human injuries. The combined economic value of these accidents, through human injuries and significant damage to vehicles is £7 million. Across the UK, it is estimated there are between 42,000 and 74,000 deer-vehicle related accidents a year, resulting in 400 to 700 human injuries and about 15 deaths, with an annual cost £47 million.
Dr Jochen Langbein of the Deer Initiative, said: “The fact that only around one-fifth of all UK deer-vehicle collisions occur in Scotland doesn’t mean the risk to drivers here is any lower. On the contrary, the risk of deer collisions per driven mile is actually greater in Scotland, as total traffic volumes in England are nine times higher than in Scotland.”
Sinclair Coghill, SNH wildlife management officer, said:“We should all be aware of the risk of deer on the road when we’re driving, especially at this time of year. This is becoming more and more of an issue in the Central Belt and around our towns and cities – it’s not just a problem on remote Highland roads, as many people think.
The Deer Vehicle Collisions Project is attempting to build a full picture of deer-related motor vehicle accidents in the United Kingdom. For more information you can visit www.deercollisions.co.uk.