Deer-Auto crashes rise in 2008, deaths & injuries drop

The number of deaths resulting from car collisions with deer and other animals in 2008 dropped by more than two-thirds over the previous year, according to a news release Friday from the South Carolina Insurance News Service.

The SCINS says during the fall and winter months, deer migration and mating season increase the chance of being in a deer-vehicle collision.

The South Carolina Insurance News Service warns drivers to be especially cautious this fall. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reports that last year there were 2 deaths due to deer and other animal collisions in 2008. There were also 1,063 injuries as a result of 3,549 collisions.

Charleston County topped the list again in 2008 with the 270 collisions and Horry County had the highest number of injuries at 61. Deaths from an auto collision with deer or other animal occurred in Anderson and Spartanburg Counties.

According to a survey conducted by the South Carolina Insurance News Service of insurance companies who track deer collisions in the state, there were more than 20,000 claims last year with an average claim totaling approximately $1,750. Costs vary depending on the type of vehicle and severity of damage; claims involving medical payments can add thousands of dollars. Collision with a deer or animals is covered under the comprehensive portion of an automobile policy. Collisions in South Carolina with deer and other animals as either the primary or contributing cause.

Allison Dean Love of the South Carolina Insurance News Service warns, "Drivers should be especially cautious just before and after sunrise and from sunset to midnight when deer tend to be moving more. Also, buckle up and pay attention to all deer crossing signs." The South Carolina Insurance News Service suggests these precautions while driving: Drive with caution in posted areas and in areas known to have a large deer population - especially in the early morning and evening hours. If you see a deer cross the road, look for others. Deer often move in groups. If you think you're going to hit a deer, brake firmly and stay in your lane. If you swerve to avoid it, the results can be even worse. If you hit the deer, do not touch it. Call the police immediately to report the incident. Use your high-beam headlights to reflect the eyes of deer better on and near the roadway. Also, blow your horn to frighten deer away. Heed deer crossing signs, lower your speed, always buckle up and stay awake, alert and sober. Contact your insurance agent or company as quickly as possible to report any damage to your car.