MoDOT warns drivers to be aware of increased wild animal movement

two deer (Source: Pexels/Aaron J. Hill)
(Source: Pexels/Aaron J. Hill)

(KBSI) – The Missouri Department of Transportation warns drivers to be aware of increased wild animal movement in the fall.

Missouri creeped up a notch in state rankings for deer collisions. According to a report from State Farm Insurance, the Show-Me State now ranks 14th in the country for potential animal collisions—up from number 15 last year—with a 1 in 74 chance of hitting an animal while driving.

Missouri has nearly 34,000 miles of state roads.

The Missouri Department of Transportation reminds travelers that there are several options that can be taken when a deer/vehicle collision results in the death of the animal.

According to Missouri law, those who strike and kill a deer with their vehicle may claim the deer carcass if written authorization to possess the deer is granted by a Missouri Department of Conservation agent. The Wildlife Dispensation permit is free, but you need to contact the Missouri Department of Conservation to obtain the permit.

If the deer is completely off the road, MoDOT will not pick it up unless it impedes mail delivery or is in a neighborhood, especially at or near a bus stop.

If a deer is located on the shoulder, MoDOT will address the deer during normal work hours. Crews are not called out after hours to remove an item unless it is a road safety hazard.

MoDOT does not have specialized crews assigned to remove dead animals from the roadway and does not contract out any roadkill removal.

Fall is breeding season. Deer are on the move, especially in the dark as days grow shorter.

The majority of these crashes occur in the twilight hours before sunrise and just after sunset in October and November, with the largest number taking place in November, according to Natalie Roark, state maintenance director.

According to 2021 statistics from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, drivers in Missouri experienced 3,779 traffic crashes where deer-vehicle strikes occurred. One deer strike occurred every two hours and 18 minutes in the state. There were three deaths and 420 people were injured.

Drivers should never swerve to avoid animals in the road as it can cause loss of control of their vehicles, resulting in serious injury or death. To avoid hitting a deer, always be cautious and keep your eyes scanning both sides of the roadway.

Do not jeopardize your safety to remove an animal in a high traffic area. Notify MoDOT at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636). Crews will address any deer/animal/debris on a highway that is a safety hazard, meaning that the carcass is in the driving or passing lane, or partially in either lane or on the shoulder. Crews will drag the carcass to the outer portion of the roadside, outside any active drainage ditch or channel.

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