The cost of collisions with animals
When a car collides with an animal, it can leave so much more damage than just a few scratches on the bumper. Often, the animal will be injured, or killed. What’s more, the deceased animal may leave behind orphaned offspring with little chance of survival without human intervention.
There is also a human toll in collisions with animals. Drivers and passengers may be injured in crashes, particularly if they collide with a large animal or swerve into the path of other obstacles, e.g. another car. One of the worst regions for fatalities is Ontario, Canada. Five people are killed on average every year in collisions with Cervidae, e.g. deer or caribou.15
The cost of animal-car collisions keeps rising when you consider injuries sustained in these accidents, damage caused to cars – not to mention the cost of roadkill removal by city services.
Get protection with car insurance
Owning a car comes with its risks, like collisions, theft and damage from fire or storms. That’s why you should consider car insurance – to help cover the cost of repairing or replacing your car if the unexcepted happens.
Use our free Australian car insurance comparison service to compare a range of comprehensive and third-party policies (only covers the vehicle you hit). Simply enter a few details, compare options from a range of insurers and if you decide to buy, we’ll handle all the messy paperwork.
How are we minimising collisions?
Here are some preventative measures designed to enhance driver safety and protect native wildlife.
Older technology used throughout the years:
- animal crossings that allow local animals to cross and require drivers to slow down;
- signage that indicates high-risk areas and speed limit suggestions (e.g. ‘reduce speed by X amount during dusk and dawn’);
- roadside lighting to deter animals while increasing driver visibility;
- fencing as an effective solution to keep larger animals away from high-risk areas;
- table drain management to deter animals from feeding and drinking from roadside water sources; and
- roadkill removal carried out by city services to prevent scavenger animals from being drawn to the road.
New technology that has recently rolled out or is currently in the works include:
- underpasses and overpasses in many new infrastructure designs to allow animals safe passageways;
- plastic reflectors that attach to guideposts to reflect headlights and warn animals off the road;
- high ropes suspended over roads (attached to poles or trees) to allow climbing animals a safer route;
- ultrasonic whistles. Animals use sound to warn others out of their territory. These whistles (not audibly detectable to humans) can be attached to vehicles or roadside infrastructure;
- odour repellents made from a synthetic substance to emulate the smell of canine urine to ward off animals; and
- electromagnetic motion detectors that are buried and triggered when an animal enters the area; flashing signs linked to the detectors work to alert drivers.
In Australia, the Tasmanian Government released the ‘Roadkill TAS App’, which allows you to report the details of roadkill you encounter (e.g. species and precise location of the deceased animal) to the state government.17 The government then collates this data and deploys preventative measures in high-risk areas.
Other similar apps exist around the world, including Europe.18
Furthermore, researchers at Virginia Tech are refining detection technology, including sensors, both in the vehicle and in road infrastructure.19 The detectors would alert drivers of an animal’s presence in the area.
Organisations like Project Roadkill, coordinated by the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, aims to create awareness and reduce the
number of animals killed on roads in Europe.20
While there’s no perfect solution, there’s a real possibility that with the advancement of technology (e.g. motion detectors, autonomous driving), animal roadkill can become a rare sighting in the future.