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December 3, 2012

Deer rutting brings increase in local accidents

CHICKASHA — As Christmas approaches the number of deer crossing major highway's continue to rise according to Lt. Joe Williams of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

"Car accidents involving deer have definitely increased in the last couple of months," he said.

Rutting season - essentially mating season for deer - is always difficult according to Williams.

"I am not sure if it's any higher this year than in years past, but everyone needs to be cautious at night," Williams said.

In Grady County Sheriff Art Kell said there have been some reports of drivers hitting deer.

"This is about the same amount as we get every year and definitely the same time," he said.

Problem areas according to Kell have been on Highway 62 heading toward Blanchard and Highway 81 heading toward Rush Springs. There have not been many reports from the northern portion of the county according to Kell.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there are 1.5 million car accidents involving deer each year. These accidents cause an average colission cost of $2,800 without injuries and an average of $10,000 if an injury is involved.

"Just realize the posted stepped limit is the maximum limit under ideal conditions," Williams said. At night, with animals possibly on the road, these are not ideal conditions. We are not saying people shouldn't drive at night, but we especially don't think it's a good idea to go above the posited speed limit at this time."

Dmv.org gave the following suggestions on how to decrease the possibility of an accident with a deer.

•    Increase awareness around dusk and dawn when deer are most active.

•    Increase awareness during October and November, the two months with the highest number of deer-caused car accidents.

•    Slow your speed in posted deer crossing areas.

•    If you see one deer, there are usually more hidden off to the side of the road.

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