Animal Vehicle Collisions

My name is Des O’Donovan and I am a freshman at Science Leadership Academy. For English class we had to do a you and the world project. For this project we had to pick an issue that we cared about. Then we had to create a blog post about the issue. Then we have to actually do something about the issue.

My issue is Animals getting hit my motor vehicles. I want to try to prevent animal getting hit by vehicles. Many animals are struck and injured or killed by cars in the United States. I want to try to make it safer for animals, and try to prevent animal vehicle collisions.

I am interested in this issue because I think that it is tragic that innocent animals are hit by cars. These are car accidents that happen all the time. I live in north west Mount Airy near the Wissahickon valley park. There are a lot of animals that live there, including an over population of white tailed deer. There are some busy roads near the park and animal vehicle collisions are common. Animals are struck by cars and often killed. Within less than half a mile of my house I have seen many animals that have been killed by cars. These animals include grey squirrels, toads, frogs, snakes, songbirds, birds of prey, small rodents, opossums, raccoons, and deer. Seeing this is what got me interested in this issue.

This year near in the park near my house an unidentified hiker was walking in the woods with their dog. The dog was not on a leash, which is against park regulations. Many hikers in the wissahickon do not obey leash laws. The leash laws are put in place so that dogs don’t destroy plants, erode trails, and harass hikers and wildlife. This dog got away from it’s owner and chased a full grown male white tailed deer across the busy road of Wissahikon avenue where the deer was hit by a car. It is unknown if this deer is still alive. Dog's harassing wildlife is one of the reasons that they run across roads and get hit by cars. click here to view article

In the united states many busy highways go right through areas of wilderness. animals that live in these areas need to cross these roads. but with so many cars going at speeds of 60 miles an hour or more it is very difficult for them to make it across without getting struck by a car. Most animals just get run over when they get hit and die. Others manage to make it off of the roads and then die from internal injuries. Some animals may go for days, weeks, or months of suffering from injuries before they finally die. Some people may ask who is to blame for all of this. Well it depends on a number things. Sometimes it’s because drivers are careless, and don’t pay attention when  they see an animal crossing sign. But most of the time it’s simply because there are too many busy roads going right through animal habitat, and the animals have no way of getting across without risking injury.

Some species that get hit by cars are endangered. In 1998 in the Florida Key Islands a recorded 134 endangered Florida key deer ( an endangered white tailed deer subspecies) were killed by cars. Also endangered Florida panthers ( a critically endangered Florida mountain lion subspecies) are often hit by cars on highways going through the everglades. These endangered cats are disappearing quickly, so the Florida department of transportation built passages under highways for animals to safely go under. Panthers, along with many other Florida species have been recorded using these passages. These passages are also being used in Arizona. Migratory animals such as pronghorn antelope are often hit by cars in Arizona. So the Arizona department of fish and game built these highway passags for animals. If more of these passages were built there would be less road accidents with animals.


Endangered Florida panther using passage under highway in Florida

to learn more about animal crossing passages click here

Animal vehicle collisions are dangerous for animals, but they are also dangerous to people. When larger animals are hit by cars they can cause serious damage to them. These accidents can injure and even kill people. There are an average of 1.5 million collisions with deer and elk in the u.S each year. One year in Arizona there were 10,00 injuries resulting in 150 deaths. White tailed deer are often hit in Pennsylvania. They are found all over the state and they can weigh three hundred pounds. In more northern areas collisions with moose are common. This often can result in serious injury or death of the driver. Moose, and elk have been known to actually charge at cars. moose can weigh 1,800 pounds and elk can weigh 1,100. Animal vehicle collisions are dangerous for both people and animals.

for information about deer collisions in PA

Pennsylvania is ranked third in the nation in collisions with deer. Due to the lack of natural predators, and ideal deer habitat the state has an over population of white tailed deer. And the population is growing. The collision risk rose 14.975 between 2002 and 2007. The risk of deer collisions is three times higher in fall because fall is deer hunting, and mating season. Deer are traveling more to escape hunters, and to breed. They are more focussed on breeding then safety, and are more likely to carelessly walk across roads. Most accidents happen in the evening because thats when deer are most active. Drivers should be especially careful when driving in areas where there are deer.

I want to find out what people in our state are doing to prevent this. I want to learn more about animal collisions in Philadelphia. I want to focus on deer because collisions with them seem to be a major problem. I want to find out what we can do to prevent these collisions.

Comments (4)

Brittany Cooper (Student 2016)
Brittany Cooper

I believe you have a great point, although the collision of a car and animal is not always not the drivers fault. It is a two way street meaning the driver must pay attention to his or hers surroundings. As well as the animal that should watch out for danger for it may not know the surrounding area.

Zack Hersh (Student 2016)
Zack Hersh

Des- Very interesting a informative article. Your information was thorough and well conveyed. The mix in of links and pictures was just right. Watch out for fragments and capitalizations. -Zack

Javier Peraza (Student 2016)
Javier Peraza

I feel the phrase "road kill" although used in a humorous way many times is quite serious. Maybe going to roads near forest areas and putting up signs for animal crossing might make people be more aware when they are driving.