Missouri officials to drivers: Be on alert for deer

DONIPHAN, MO (KAIT) - According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, 3,420 car accidents involving a deer occurred in 2010.  Of these crashes, two people were killed and 352 were injured.

Missouri state troopers are recommending drivers exercise caution when driving during the evening and early morning hours.

Missouri highway patrol data show a sharp increase in deer strikes from Oct. to Dec. 2010.  During the three month period 1, 743 accidents occurred compared to 1,677 which occurred from Jan. to Sept. 2010.

Current River Ford manager Chuck Aldrich said minor damage to vehicles can cost thousands of dollars to replace. "It doesn't take much at all to accumulate $3,000-$5,000 worth of damage."

Aldrich said his automotive body shop has repaired 10 vehicles damaged by collisions with deer within the last couple of weeks, with three occurring in the past week. "Almost all of the damage is front-end related, mostly radiators, grills, hoods, front fenders."

Missouri is ranked 19th in the United States for drivers most likely to hit a deer, according to insurance claims data from State Farm Insurance.

State officials say the increased visibility of deer is due to the change in weather and the start of mating season.  Highway patrol urges drivers slow down when they spot a deer.

For a full copy of the 2010 report from Missouri State Highway Patrol, click here.

Copyright KAIT 2011. All rights reserved.