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Tennessee Highway Patrol urges Motorists to watch out for Deer


Fall Season Worst Time for Deer-Related Crashes

Tennessee Highway Patrol - THPNashville, TN – The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) urges motorists to exercise caution on the roadways this time of year.  Autumn means, football, fall foliage, pumpkin pies, and the start of deer mating and hunting season.  Last year in Tennessee, one person was killed in a traffic crash involving deer.

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

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 6,429 deer-related crashes in 2014. That’s an increase of 3.9 percent from the 6,187 crashes involving deer the previous year. Last year’s deer-related traffic incidents, included, 6,122 property damage crashes, 306 wrecks with injury, and one vehicular fatality.

The THP also reports that between 2010 and 2014, 8.3 percent of deer-related crashes occurred on interstate highways. Deer-related crashes in Tennessee have steadily increased by 10.05 percent since 2010.

According to State Farm®, there have been an estimated 1.25 million collisions between deer and vehicles in the U.S. between July 1st, 2014 and July 1st, 2015.

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

Crash Month 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 5 Yr. Total 5 Yr. Average
January 320 428 460 431 495 2134 711
February 275 346 310 335 421 1687 562
March 334 286 229 331 364 1544 515
April 301 305 272 368 313 1559 520
May 386 369 330 368 353 1806 602
June 385 376 428 485 397 2071 690
July 317 273 313 285 298 1486 495
August 226 278 261 293 279 1337 446
September 307 288 296 318 275 1484 495
October 664 598 792 677 709 3440 1147
November 1293 1337 1496 1416 1659 7201 2400
December 616 813 770 880 866 3945 1315

Source: Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security; Research, Planning, and Development; TITAN; 10, Nov. 2015

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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