Data from the Tennessee State Highway Patrol suggest cars and deer are crossing paths more frequently and in some cases, the results can be deadly.
In 2012, three motorists died in car-deer accidents on Tennessee roads. Overall, police reported 5,911 car-deer collisions during that same period, an increase of 4.2% from the previous year. Since 2008, the percentage of deer-related accidents has steadily increased by 13.8%. By far, the largest number of accidents takes place during the last three months of each year, peaking in November when deer are mating and running from hunters.
The state’s rising white-tailed deer population may provide one clue to the increase in accidents. However, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency estimates the deer population is increasing only by approximately 1-2% each year, with the highest population increases being reported in Middle and West Tennessee.
The Highway Patrol and the TWRA suggest using extra caution during the autumn months, especially at dawn and dusk when deer are more likely to cross the road and harder to see. They also suggest slowing down when you see one deer, as more are likely to follow.