Illinois Vehicle Crashes Involving Deer Continue to Decline
IDOT, IDNR Urge Drivers to Not Buck Trend and Practice Safe Driving
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation and the
Illinois Department of Natural Resources today announced that
collisions between vehicles and deer declined in 2010 and
reminded motorists to once again be alert for deer along
roadways during one of their most active periods of the year.
“Deer crashes can be especially difficult to avoid. The best
measures to avoid accidents and injuries are to slow down, wear
a safety belt and remain alert this fall driving through areas
where deer are likely to be seen,” said Acting Illinois
Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. “The encouraging news is
that collisions with deer in Illinois continue to decline. We
remind all motorists to take the proper steps so the trend
The number of deer-vehicle accidents dropped to 17,135 in 2010,
a decrease from 18,849 in 2009 and the lowest total since 1999,
according to the latest IDOT statistics released today.
Approximately 77 percent of the crashes occurred on rural
roadways and 67 percent during periods of darkness.
Accidents involving deer were responsible for 10 fatalities in
2010, an increase from six in 2009. Injuries because of an
accident involving a deer decreased from 708 in 2009 to 634 in
The top 10 counties for collisions involving deer in 2010 were:
- Cook – 562
- Madison – 475
- Peoria – 458
- Sangamon – 411
- Will – 396
- LaSalle – 364
- Fulton – 357
- Pike – 355
- Kane – 325
- Lake – 320
“It’s always a good idea to get yourself in a defensive
driving frame of mind at this time of year when deer are most
active,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “Deer move about
frequently at dawn and dusk so it’s important that motorists are
aware of their surroundings during their morning and evening
commutes especially in forested or open areas.”
Suggestions for motorists to avoid colliding with deer include:
- Be particularly cautious at dusk and dawn, when deer are
- Keep track of locations where deer have been spotted in
the past to avoid being surprised.
- Reduce speed and be prepared to stop, especially near
water, farm fields and wooded areas.
- Deer will cross the road and double back. Make sure deer
have moved away before proceeding.
- Be mindful that deer will follow each other. One deer
can mean others are nearby or close behind.
- Avoid swerving into traffic or off the road if deer are
on the roadway. Instead, slow to a stop and wait for the
deer to move along.
- Flashing the headlights and honking the car horn will
encourage deer to move off the road.
- Alert other motorists to the presence of deer by tapping
If an accident with a deer does occur, drivers and passengers
should provide assistance to anyone injured. Contact local,
county or state law enforcement to report the incident. Do not
attempt to remove a dead or injured deer from a busy roadway.
Illinois law requires that all accidents resulting in damage of
at least $1,500 to be reported to police.
The driver involved in the accident may take possession of the
animal. If the driver does not want it, any Illinois resident
can claim the deer. Those taking possession of the deer are not
required to phone in a report and obtain a registration number
for the deer, unless the deer is taken to a taxidermist or
tannery. If the deer is to be taken to a taxidermist or tannery,
please call the IDNR Office of Law Enforcement at (217) 782-6431
to obtain a tag before delivering the deer.
Anyone possessing the deer must keep a personal record of the
date the deer was claimed, the sex of the animal, the location
of the accident and the place where the deer or deer parts are
stored. This information must be kept until the deer is consumed
or no longer in the possession of any person. This information
also must be provided to any law enforcement officer
investigating the death and possession of the deer.