KYTC says motorists should consider these driving tips to help improve their personal safety:
MADISONVILLE, Ky. -- The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is joining area law enforcement agencies to remind motorists that the number of deer-vehicle accidents increase substantially during the last three months of the year as the fall crop harvest and mating season combine to put deer on the move.
"Our highway crews are seeing an increase in the number of deer killed along our highways, indicating deer are starting to move. Deer-vehicle collisions always go up during October, November, and December," said KYTC District 2 Chief Engineer Kevin McClearn. "About half of all deer-related collisions are reported during the last quarter of the year when deer are on the move."
Cooler evenings and shorter days kick in the fall mating season, putting deer on the move at times when they are least visible. KYTC says an analysis of crash reports indicates most auto collisions with deer are just before sunrise or just after sunset.
"Cooler weather and shorter days serve as a reminder that we all need to stay attentive when we're behind the wheel," McClearn said. "This is especially the case during twilight hours when deer and other wildlife tend to move when visibility is poor."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 150 people are killed nationwide each year in motor vehicle accidents involving deer.
In 2012, police agencies in Kentucky reported 2,766 deer-related crashes, causing 106 injuries with no reported driver fatalities. That showed a drop from 2011 when 2,972 crashes with 148 injuries and three fatalities were attributed to deer.
McClearn asked motorists to report all collisions to police.
"We believe a lot of deer-vehicle collisions go unreported according to the number of deer observed along our highways," McClearn said. "We urge all motorists to report all such collisions to police. Data pulled directly from police crash reports is used to direct our efforts to improve highway safety."
While deer tend to travel along fairly predictable trails most of the year, during the fall mating season they can show up in commercial and residential areas starting in October and continuing until the mating season trails off around year's end.