Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center

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Vehicle-Animal Crashes: An Increasing Safety Problem

Product Type

Journal Article


Warren E. Hughes, A. Reza Saremi, and Jeffrey F. Paniati



Full citation

Warren E. Hughes, A. Reza Saremi, and Jeffrey F. Paniati. "Vehicle-Animal Crashes: An Increasing Safety Problem." ITE Journal, Vol. 66, No. 8, August 1996, pp. 24-28.


This paper analyzes vehicle-animal collisions in Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, and Utah. The number of reported animal crashes increased by 69 percent from 1985 to 1991. Less than 0.2 percent of animal crashes were fatal, and about 5 percent resulted in non-fatal injuries. Animal crashes also increased as a percentage of all reported crashes, from 4.7 percent in 1985 to 8.2 percent in 1991. Animal crashes on rural two-lane roads ranged from about 12 percent of all reported crashes in Maine to more than one-third in Michigan. The average animal crash rate for rural roads is 2 to 12 times greater than that for urban roads. Between 69 and 85 percent of all reported animal crashes occurred at night. The greatest number occurred during the early morning hours (5 AM to 8 AM) and the evening hours (6 PM to Midnight). November was the peak month for animal crashes. Animal crash clusters (0.5-km long sections with an average of more than one animal crash per year) were identified; Michigan had the greatest number of these clusters. Based on the results of this study, it is recommended that: (1) policies for the installation of deer warning signs be reviewed to restrict their use to locations with significant deer crash problems, (2) further investigation of the effectiveness of warning reflectors should be conducted, and (3) the development of rural IVHS applications (either roadside or vehicle-based) should include consideration of animal-related crashes.

Available From

ITE Journal

Link To Journal Article

Link not available.


Animal crashes
Crash analysis
Rural roads

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