Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
Patrick J. Quinn, Governor
Traveling PublicMapsProjectsRoad ClosuresNewsDoing BusinessLetting & BiddingCareers@IDOTGeneral Info

October 28, 2005


Matt Vanover (IDOT) 217-558-0517
Melaney Arnold (IDNR) 217-558-0500

IDOT and IDNR urge motorists to be alert on roadways; Deer activity increases during the fall

Deer vs. Car crashes drops during 2004, still more than 20-thousand crashes statewide

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) reminded motorists today that as cooler fall weather approaches the likelihood of car vs. deer crashes increases. Fall is the busiest season for these crashes as deer seek mates and food sources.

“Collisions between vehicles and deer occur throughout the year, but deer are more active during the fall and motorists on country roads, interstate highways and even urban thoroughfares need to be on the lookout,” said Joel Brunsvold, Director of IDNR. “Be especially cautious near areas where deer are likely to be present, such as wooded areas, stream and creek beds, farm field edges, and parks or forest preserves.”

In 2004 there were 23,438 deer-vehicle accidents reported in the state, down 9% from 25,660 the year before, according to preliminary statistics compiled by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“Deer are at their most active at dawn and dusk, which is also a busy travel time as people are trying to get to work and home. Drivers need to keep that in mind and be cautious, especially when driving by areas that are prime deer habitat,” said Timothy W. Martin, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation. “Deer are everywhere in Illinois and deer crashes occur in every county, including highly urban areas like Cook and the collar counties.”

The top 10 Illinois counties for deer-vehicle accidents in 2004 were:

Cook - 881
Pike - 625
Madison - 545
LaSalle - 513
Will - 508
Peoria - 500
Sangamon - 496
Lake - 486
McHenry - 459
Kane - 433

Among the suggestions for motorists to avoid deer-vehicle accidents:

  • Be especially cautious at dusk through the early evening and in the hours before sunrise when deer are most active.

  • Keep track of locations where deer have been seen in the past to avoid being surprised by deer crossings.

  • Reduce speed and be prepared to stop on roads where deer may be present, especially areas near streams or rivers, farm field edges, wooded and densely vegetated areas.

  • Be mindful that several others may follow a single deer near a road.

  • Deer may cross the roadway and double back across the road. Make sure deer have moved away before proceeding.

  • Drivers encountering deer on the roadway should try flashing their headlights from bright to dim or honking the horn on their vehicle to try to encourage the deer to move on.

  • Alert other motorists to the presence of deer by tapping the brakes.

  • Avoid swerving into oncoming traffic or off the road if deer are on the roadway - slow to a stop and wait for the deer to move along.

If a deer-vehicle accident does occur, drivers and passengers involved should provide assistance to anyone injured. Contact local, county or state law enforcement - do not attempt to remove a dead or injured deer from a busy roadway. Illinois law requires all accidents resulting in damage of $500 or more to be reported and an accident report to be filed with the police.

The driver involved in an accident involving a deer may take possession of the deer. If the driver does not want the deer, any Illinois resident may claim the animal. 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 must be provided to any law enforcement officer investigating the death and possession of the deer. Those taking possession of vehicle-killed 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.



IDOT Privacy Statement | Illinois Privacy Information | Kids Privacy | Web Accessibility  | FOIA