Deer Pose Additional Hazard for NJ Drivers

Traffic accidents are on the rise across the state – a fact that a quick glance at the local news confirms.

• Mount Arlington, NJ Police Officer Killed in Car Crash (October 18, 2011)
• Highland Park. NJ Man Is Struck by Two Vehicles (October 21, 2011)
• Woman Fatally Struck Trying to Cross Route 37 in Toms River, NJ (October 21, 2011)

• Linden, NJ Business Owner Dies After Accident; Driver Was Using Cell Phone (October 26, 2011) (1)

Earlier last month, the New Jersey State Police released statistics showing that traffic fatalities are up this year, indicating an end to a four-year drop in the State. There were 445 motor vehicle related deaths in New Jersey as of October 4, 2011, compared with 418 fatalities for the same period in 2010. (2)

The causes of these accidents vary – overcrowded roadways; dangerous driver behavior, including distracted driving and driving under the influence; and poor road and weather conditions can all contribute to a motor vehicle accident. And, as if New Jersey drivers don’t have enough road hazards to face, now is the time to add yet another – deer.

Fall is mating season for the whitetail deer that populate the area. Studies by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection indicate this season peaks in the State’s northern counties during the first three weeks of November and in the southern counties during the last three weeks of the month and may last well into December.

The problem is these amorous herbivores pay little heed to cars as they dart across roadways in search of a mate. This is especially a problem in Hunterdon County where the deer population is extremely high and dark, rural roadways dominate the area.

Car versus animal collisions are not the only concern, although a deer hit at a high enough speed can come through a windshield causing serious injury or even death. Darting deer can cause drivers to veer out of control and hit objects, such as trees, utility poles and road barriers. They can also cause drivers to swerve into the path of other motorists, resulting in multiple vehicle collisions. The worse hours for deer-related accidents are the twilight hours which, ironically, coincide with rush hour – the time of day more cars are on the roads. (3)

This isn’t a small problem. The New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) has already picked up more than 4,000 dead deer from roadways as of October 20. A total of 6,020 deer carcasses were picked up from our roadways last year. Deer-related motor vehicle accidents have risen steadily in the five-year period between 2005 and 2010. The DOT reported 6,847 deer-related accidents in 2005 versus 8,365 in 2010. (3)

With all the hazards on our roadways today, even the most careful drivers can experience an accident. If you, or someone you know, find yourself involved in a motor vehicle accident in Hunterdon County, you may want to seek the advice of accident attorney. Contact the accident attorneys at Ragland Law Firm located in Lebanon, NJ, which is located in close proximity to Clinton and Flemington, NJ.

(1) http://www.NJ.com
(2) http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/state/nj-traffic-deaths-on-pace-to-end-4-year-decline

(3) http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20111104/NJNEWS10/311040055/Deer-car-crashes-NJ-rising