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Tennessee Highway Patrol urges Motorists to Watch Out for Deer this Fall

October Through December Worst Time for Deer-Related Crimes

Tennessee Highway Patrol - THPNashville, TN – The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) urges motorists to exercise caution on the roadways this time of year due to deer-mating and -hunting season. Last year, two people were killed in traffic crashes involving deer on state roadways.

“The fall season is the most active time of year for deer-related crashes. We want to remind drivers to watch out for deer on or around the roadways, especially at dawn or after sunset,” Colonel Tracy Trott said.

A deer crossing a road
A deer crossing a road

Motorists are also encouraged to dial *THP (*847) from an available cell phone for assistance in the event of a deer-related crash. The call will be connected to the nearest THP Communications Center and the next available state trooper will be dispatched to the location.

In Tennessee, there were 6,135 deer-related crashes in 2013. That’s an increase of 3.2 percent from the 5,947 crashes involving deer the previous year. Last year’s deer-related traffic incidents, included, 5,853 property damage crashes, 280 wrecks with injury, and two vehicular fatalities.

The THP also reports that between 2009 and 2013, 8.9 percent of deer-related crashes occurred on interstate highways. Deer-related crashes in Tennessee have steadily increased by 15.3 percent since 2009.

According to State Farm®, the nation’s leading auto insurer, there have been an estimated 1.25 million collisions between deer and vehicles in the U.S. between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014. That’s an almost three percent increase from a year ago.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) suggest the following tips to help prevent deer-related crashes during peak mating and hunting seasons:

Remember that mating season puts deer on the move and deer tend to move at dawn and dusk.

  • Whenever you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow.  Many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit.
  • Be attentive; drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside, especially at daybreak and dusk.
  • Do not swerve to avoid contact with deer. This could cause the vehicle to flip or veer into oncoming traffic, causing a more serious crash. Swerving also can confuse the deer as to where to run.
  • When you spot a deer, slow down immediately.  Proceed slowly until you pass that point.
  • If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal.  They are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human.  Report any deer collision, even if the damage is minor.

Tennessee law allows deer killed in a collision to be taken and used as food, as long as you contact the nearest TWRA regional office to report the accident within 48 hours. For a listing of TWRA regional offices, visit the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org

Additional data regarding deer-related crashes can be found at: http://tn.gov/safety/stats/CrashData/default.shtml

Deer Involved Crashes Statewide by Month, 2009 – 2013
Crash Month 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 5 Yr. Total 5 Yr. Average
January 353 320 428 460 429 1,990 398
February 304 275 346 310 331 1,566 313
March 252 334 286 228 331 1,431 286
April 314 301 305 272 366 1,558 312
May 354 386 369 330 367 1,806 361
June 363 386 376 425 481 2,031 406
July 269 317 273 313 281 1,453 291
August 246 226 278 261 292 1,303 261
September 216 307 288 296 317 1,424 285
October 594 664 597 791 665 3,311 662
November 1,348 1,293 1,333 1,494 1,401 6,869 1,374
December 707 616 810 767 874 3,774 755
Total 5,320 5,425 5,689 5,947 6,135 28,516 5,703
Source: Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security; Research, Planning, and Development; TITAN; 29 Sep 2014.


The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to serve, secure, and protect the people of Tennessee.


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