Transportation officials are warning people to take it easy on area roads with more reported deer versus car collisions. Right now, Kentucky is ranked fifteenth in the nation for car accidents involving deer.
Henderson County officials say they see these crashes throughout the year, but right now drivers are seeing more deer along Kentucky roads.
In 2018 more than 3,000 deer-related car accidents were reported across the Commonwealth.
“I do know in the past year that our tri-county area: Webster, Henderson, Union County, were in the top 12 counties in the state of Kentucky for deer collisions so we have a lot of deer down here,” says Henderson County Sheriff Ed Brady.
Some auto body shop owners say they aren’t surprised. Steve Keen, the owner of Steve’s Auto Body & Paint, says he’s seen a major increase of deer-collisions over the past four years. This year alone he’s had nearly 90 cars in his shop because of this problem.
“If you hit a deer you need to get out and look and make sure it’s safe to drive,” says Steve Keen.
This is triggering some concerns for all drivers, including law enforcement.
“We’ve had so many collisions with our cruisers that we’ve started buying special deer bumpers for them so they can hold down all the damage,” says Sheriff Brady. “And that 400 dollar bumper in many cases will save us a thousand or two thousand dollars on the damage.”
Not only can deer cause major car damage, but there are also many dangers associated with deer-related crashes.
“We’ve seen deer that have gone through the window, we’ve seen one that came through a sunroof,” says Keen.
The vehicle repairs can be costly, especially now auto body shop owners are seeing insurance companies totaling about 80 percent of these wrecked cars.
“If it’s a four-wheel drive and it’s at fifty percent of the book, it’s gone,” says Keen.
Officials say in most cases it’s nearly impossible to prevent these accidents especially since it’s getting dark earlier.
“You’re kind of at the mercy of the animal. You need to slow down a little bit and not drive quite as fast going home or to work or wherever you are going,” says Sheriff Brady. “If you do see a deer, it may give you a little bit more time to dodge it, but it will do a lot less damage if you don’t hit it running so fast.”
All drivers are asked to report their deer-related accidents to police. This way those locations can be monitored for other drivers.