Road safety: Animal crashes in NY decreased in 2020, but remain a serious threat

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NEW YORK —  Vehicular crashes involving animals continue to pose a serious threat to road safety in New York, according to AAA Northeast.

An analysis conducted by AAA Northeast found 33,956 animal crashes statewide in 2020. 

Although the analysis showed a 7% decrease from 2019, the number is still the second highest total since 2010. Less driving during the pandemic could have contributed to the lower number, according to AAA.

In 2020, there were about 1,538 crashes that caused injuries to vehicular occupants. Of the crashes, six involved fatalities, AAA reported.

The majority of animal crashes involve hitting deer. 

Suffolk County had the second highest number of animal collisions in the state with 1,311 while Orange County saw the most animal-involved crashes at 1,427, AAA said.

Animal crashes continue to pose a serious threat, particularly this season as deer mating season runs from October to early December.

Those months, in particular, see the most crashes as bucks are more active during daylight and are prone to moving to open areas, such as roads.

Crashes tend to be most common from 6 to 8 p.m., AAA said.

AAA offers advice for drivers:

  • Scan the shoulders of the road looking for deer that may run onto the roads
  • Use traffic apps that can have warnings about animals by the roadside
  • Obey the speed limit (Lower speeds will allow the driver more time to react to an animal on the road.)

Motorists should never swerve to avoid an animal, especially on country roads. Going to the right could send a vehicle into a tree, ditch or pole. Swerving to the left could result in head-on crashes. Hitting the brakes hard promotes a nosedive, which could send the animal rolling up the hood and through the windshield, according to AAA.

“Modern ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) technology, like automatic emergency braking, may help prevent an animal crash, or lessen its severity,” said Robert Sinclair, Jr., of AAA Northeast. “But, if a crash does occur, the repairs may be twice as expensive due to the technology’s sensors that must be replaced and calibrated, with something as mundane as the correct paint thickness on repaired body parts critical to proper function,” Sinclair said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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