Bookmark and Share

Car-deer crashes on the decline in Kent County

Oct 31st, 2013 - Local News

(Mlive)--This is one case where being No. 2 means life is a little less dangerous.

Kent County perennially has taken the top spot of any Michigan county for cardeer crashes. In 2012, it dropped to 1,572 crashes. That’s now second behind Oakland County’s 1,683 crashes.

The decline is part of a statewide trend, since at least 2009, toward fewer car-deer crashes.

One insurer, State Farm, said the decline means any individual Michigan driver now has a 1-in-92 chance of hitting a deer, compared to a 1-in-81 chance last year.

So what’s behind the drop in collisions with Bambi?

Brent Rudolph, deer program leader for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, has a few ideas.

“It’s probably a few things. For about the past decade, deer numbers in southern Michigan (essentially, from Muskegon to Saginaw Bay and south) have stabilized or declined,” he said.

Rudolph believes drivers are less likely to report a collision now than in the past. Also, there are fewer officers on the road to take reports than there were a decade ago.

DNR analysts estimate the deer population in southern Michigan is about 840,000, with about 1.75 million in the state.

The population has dropped variably across the state’s southern regions, partly because of epizootic hemorrhagic disease, Rudolph said. There was an outbreak in the summer of 2012 that brought down deer numbers.

Deer experts and police, however, warn that drivers still need to be vigilant. October and November are the two most dangerous months in Michigan for car-deer crashes because of the deer mating season and hunting, which put bucks and does on the move.

Mike Cordes, of the DeWitt area, found out the hard way.

About two weeks ago, he was driving west on I-96 near M-6 when he became a statistic.

“I was driving 70 mph and he jumped right out in front of me,” Cordes said of the deer that mangled the right front end of the SUV he drives for work.

“I saw it just enough before I thought, ‘Oh crap,’” and the damage was done, he said.

It was the second deer Cordes has struck in the past several years. About five years ago, he totaled another work vehicle by hitting a deer.

Rudolph said drivers need to be on the lookout for deer near roads.

“There are still lots of crashes. There’s still plenty of deer,” Rudolph said. “And many suburbs and neighborhoods are still seeing increases of deer.”

Counties such as Kent, Oakland, Ottawa, Clinton, Jackson, Ingham and Lapeer historically have had high numbers of car-deer crashes for fairly obvious reasons.

“There’s quite a f ew people and lots of roads,” Rudolph said.

State Farm agents say Michigan is in 10th place for states where drivers are most likely to have a car-deer crash.

West Virginia is the top state, with a 1-in-41 chance of hitting a deer, followed by Montana, Iowa, South Dakota and Pennsylvania.

In Michigan, car-deer crashes caused 1,329 injuries last year and eight deaths. There were 48,918 crashes in 2012, down from 53,592 in 2011.

Local News

Local News RSS

Drive-by shooting kills 17-year-old

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a 17-year-old high school basketball player has died following a drive-by shooting in the western Michigan community of Muskegon Heights.

Police say...

Utility says it's committed to plant site reuse

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — Officials with Consumers Energy said they're committed to helping find a new use for the site of a coal-fired power plant in western Michigan that's scheduled to close in two ...

Read More Local News

State News

State News RSS

Senate approves 'Pure Michigan' trails legislation

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate has unanimously approved legislation to recognize top-notch trails as "Pure Michigan" trails and to create a mobile app for trail users.

Five bills sent ...

Michigan murderer who escaped scheduled for court

IONIA, Mich. (AP) — A convicted murderer who escaped from a Michigan prison in February faces a court hearing Wednesday on escape, carjacking and kidnapping charges.

Michael Elliot is being arrai...

Read More State News

National News

National News RSS

US durable goods orders up 2.6 percent in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods posted a solid gain for the second straight month in March. A key category that signals business investment plans incre...

Backers, opponents of Michigan ban react to ruling

DETROIT (AP) — A woman who successfully sued the University of Michigan over racial preferences says the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold a state ban on using race in university admissions is...

Read More National News

International News

International News RSS

3 killed in Afghanistan hospital were American doctors

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Three American physicians are dead and a U.S. nurse is wounded after an Afghan security guard opened fire on a group of foreign doctors at a Kabul hospital.

The shooting...

UN study: Cellphones can improve literacy

PARIS (AP) — A study by the U.N. education agency says cellphones are getting more and more people to read in countries where books are rare and illiteracy is high.

Paris-based UNESCO says 774 mi...

Read More International News

Sports News

Sports News RSS

Semien's slam lifts White Sox over Tigers 6-4

DETROIT (AP) — Marcus Semien's seventh-inning grand slam lifted the Chicago White Sox over the Detroit Tigers 6-4 Wednesday night.

Jose Abreu hit another long home run for the White Sox, but it w...

Tigers hang on to beat the White Sox

DETROIT (AP) — Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer, Justin Verlander pitched seven solid innings and the Detroit Tigers held on for an 8-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.


Read More Sports News

Health News

Health News RSS

Potential Treatment for Spinal Cord Injury Patients

LONDON (AP) — Doctors in London researching spinal cord injuries say they've had success using an experimental treatment on four patients now.

They've gotten them to stand and move their legs by ...

Updating Nutrition Labels

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nutrition facts label on the back of food packages is getting a makeover.

The Food and Drug Administration says knowledge about nutrition has evolved since the early 19...

Read More Health News