While injuries down, car vs. deer crashes up across region
By Matt Brennan For The Courier-News October 31, 2012 10:04PM
The number of deer-related accidents in Kane County was up in the most recent reporting period, mirroring a statewide trend.| AP~file photo
Top Illinois counties
for deer vs. vehicles crashes in 2010
1. Cook – 562
2. Madison – 475
3. Peoria – 458
4. Sangamon – 411
5. Will – 396
6. LaSalle – 364
7. Fulton – 357
8. Pike – 355
9. Kane – 325
10. Lake – 320
Top Illinois counties for deer vs. vehicles crashes in 2011
1. Cook – 554
2. Madison – 472
3. Peoria – 435
4. Will – 422
5. Fulton – 417
6. Sangamon – 410
7. Kane – 395
8. Pike – 362
9. Lake – 360
10. LaSalle– 339
Traffic accidents with injuries
About three in every four crashes in 2011 occurred on rural roadways and 71 percent occurred at twilight or nighttime.
Source: Illinois Departments of Transportation and
Updated: December 2, 2012 2:09PM
The number of deer-related roadway accidents in Kane County was up in the most recent reporting period, mirroring a statewide trend.
For 2011, the most recent data available, Kane had 395 crashes, up 70 from the 325 crashes in 2010, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Cook County had the most 2011 crashes in the state at 554. In DuPage County, there were 131 car vs. deer crashes in 2011. Numbers for other area counties include DeKalb, 121; and McHenry, 251.
Statewide, there were 18,039 deer-related crashes in 2011, compared to 17,135 in 2010.
Experts have described an explosion in deer population around the state. Among the reasons: deer are living close to subdivisions and in other areas where sportsmen are not allowed to hunt. Some experts also bemoan that in areas that do allow hunting, the hunters tend to desire big-horned bucks rather than does. A female deer typically gives birth once a year to twins and is fertile for about 10 years.
The overall number of fatal crashes, injuries, and the number of motorists killed in accidents involving deer declined in 2011, the Illinois Department of Transportation announced in its report this week.
Accidents involving deer were responsible for six fatalities statewide in 2011, a decline from 10 in 2010, according to IDOT. There were no fatalities in Cook or the collar counties, however, although one person was killed in a collision with a deer in LaSalle County last year. Most of the fatalities were in central Illinois.
Injuries in these accidents declined from 634 in 2010 to 613 in 2011. IDOT spokesman Josh Kauffman said that they are attributing the decline in fatalities and injuries to increased awareness.
“Obviously that’s a really good sign, that fatalities are 30 percent less,” he said.
According to experts at the University of Illinois Extension Service, most deer-vehicle collisions occur during October, November, and December. May and June are another peak, as 1-year-old deer are moving into new areas.
While such deer-involved crashes can occur anytime, most mishaps happen between the hours of 5 and 10 p.m. and 5 and 8 a.m. because deer are “crepuscular” — meaning that they are most active at dawn and dusk.
The average animal-related auto claim costs over $3,300, according to Insurance Navy, an association of insurance brokers in Illinois.
Kauffman said that they won’t know about the 2012 numbers until they receive all the local accident reports, some time in 2013.
Defensive driving is still the best way to avoid hitting these animals. “Be particularly cautious at dusk and dawn when deer are the most active,” he said.