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Press Release: How Much Could Deer-Vehicle Collisions Cost Wisconsin Drivers?

Media Contact:
Jim Geisking
Geisking Public Relations
MADISON, WI – According to State Farm insurance, as a Wisconsinite with a license to drive, you have a 1 in 57 chance of hitting a deer this year. Madison’s current population is roughly 277,000. That means more than 475 drivers who reside in the capitol city are going to have a collision with a deer sometime this year, and chances are it will be sooner than later.
From now until December it is mating season, which brings deer and other wild animals out in droves, oblivious to their own safety. It’s that time of year when 7,000 deer-vehicle accidents occur throughout the state. At any given moment, but mostly around dusk, a deer will come bolting out of nowhere and strike your vehicle with full force. It’s an unfortunate experience. And it’s one that is getting costlier.
“When a deer smacks into your car, they collide with significant force,” says James Anderberg, manager at Ball Body Shop, 2225 Eagle Drive in Middleton, a division of Smart Motors. He says the Highway Data Loss Institute (HLDI) estimated that the average cost of November animal-strike claims between 2006 and 2019 rang in at $3,685 per claim. “But costs keep going up, and the supply chain is weak right now. Hitting a deer in 2022 is going to be quite costly.”

Anderberg says that to fix the average collision has increased by 10 or 15 percent annually over the past few years mainly due to the increase in the price of obtaining parts. Labor, he says, has increased as well. The advanced features that are currently on vehicles to help keep drivers and passengers safe are another reason repair costs are on the rise. He says that an average hit can cost between $2,500 and $10,000 with some deer collisions resulting in a total loss. And while a driver’s comprehensive insurance coverage should absorb these costs, many drivers elect not to carry comprehensive and therefor have to pay out of pocket.

“Ironically, we’ve had to replace plenty of sensors, cameras, and other high tech safety features,” he says. “The things that are making vehicles safer for drivers, passengers and even pedestrians are ending up costing car owners more when it comes to impact with large animals.”
Anderberg says some auto manufacturers are refining their collision-warning systems to help alert drivers to deer.
“For now, though, manufacturers are still working on a front crash prevention system that is calibrated to recognize deer or other animals. Of course this does nothing for when a deer wallops your vehicle from the side,” he says.
Anderberg acknowledges that the situation is unfortunate, but assures Ball Body Shop has the expertise required to fix any deer crash incident.
But to make sure the accidents never occur in the first place, Anderberg recommends avoiding high density areas where deer congregate after dark. Rural and suburban roads with zig-zagging stretches, long straightaways, uphill corners, sharp curves, dense culverts and low lighting can all overlap to create dangerous choke-points where accidents may occur.
Anderberg also offers the following tips on how motorists can help avoid a deer-car collision this fall:

  • Always use caution when driving - especially at dusk and into the evening hours. When light levels are low animals are more active.
  • Complacency equals negligence. Stay alert, focused and pay attention – be aware of the landscape and your environment.
  • Deer generally travel in small groups. If one crosses the road, odds are there are others nearby that might attempt crossing. Watch for and recognize deer crossing signs.
  • Sometimes it makes sense to hit the deer. This might sound callous, but if the choice comes down to hitting a deer or swerving over the center line, hitting the deer will cause less damage and reduces mortality rates.
  • Be a speed limit driver, higher speeds reduce reaction times - going the speed limit increases travel safety.
  • Keep your lights, brakes and tires well maintained for optimal performance.
  • Buckle-up, don't tailgate and remember to slow it down.
  • Prepare for the unexpected.

About Ball Body Shop
Ball Body Shop, the official body shop of Smart Motors, opened its doors in 1950 and provides the Madison area with customized, cost-effective auto-body services to all domestic and imported vehicle makes. Ball Body Shop has been voted “Best Body Shop” by the readers of Madison Magazine over the years. Ball Body Shop is located at 2225 Eagle Drive, Middleton WI. Phone #: 608.831.5944.

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