Thursday, April 27, 2006

BRITISH COLUMBIA NEWS: Deer population rising, more drivers crashing

If you think you are seeing more deer in the area, you are probably right.
The RCMP say there is an increase in the deer population, which in turn means an increase in vehicle collisions with the deer.

Over the past three years there has been an increase in the number of motor vehicles collisions reported to the RCMP involving a wild animal, said Cpl. Mel Callander in a press release. Most of these collisions are with deer and occur on the Highway 97 corridor and Highway 20.

There were 75 collisions on these highways in 2003, 79 in 2004 and 102 in 2005. Mild winters, no disease and fewer predators have caused the increase in the deer population throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin region, said Callander.

Motorists are reminded that springtime is the season for collisions with wild animals and most occur at dawn or dusk when the deer are feeding alongside the roadways. Motorists should be driving accordingly by slowing down so they have more time to react to these wild animals.

There has been a change in the Motor Vehicle Act regarding reporting collisions with wild animals. Currently if you are in a collision with damage over $1000, the Motor Vehicle Act requires the driver to report the incident to the police within 48 hours if the collision occurred outside a city or municipality.

The officer in charge of E division traffic services has given direction to the RCMP detachments that they will no longer be required to investigate or report motor vehicle collisions involving wild animals. Motorists are to report directly to ICBC when filling a claim involving a collision with a wild animal unless there are injuries to the occupants of the vehicle, said Callander. This will give the officers more time to be strategically focused on their detachment and unit priorities.

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