Illinois Vehicle Crash Fatalities, Injuries Involving Deer Decline
IDOT, IDNR Urge Motorists to Drive Defensively and Be Alert for Seasonal Wildlife Activity Along Roadsides
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation
(IDOT) and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
today announced that fatal crashes, injuries and the number of
motorists killed in accidents involving deer declined in 2011.
IDOT and IDNR also reminded motorists to once again be alert for
deer along roadways during one of the most active periods of the
year for wildlife activity.
“Throughout the fall deer hunting season and into the winter
months, we strongly remind all motorists to please slow down,
drive defensively, obey posted speed limits, and be especially
alert for wildlife at night along Illinois roadways,” Illinois
Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider said. “We are pleased
to report the recent decline in fatal crashes involving deer,
but much more awareness and care are still needed to drive down
the total number of crashes and injuries due to these
Accidents involving deer were responsible for six fatalities
in 2011, a decrease from 10 fatalities in 2010. Injuries because
of an accident involving a deer decreased from 634 in 2010 to
613 in 2011.
The number of deer-vehicle accidents slightly increased to
18,039 in 2011, as compared to 17,135 in 2010, but represents an
overall decrease from 18,849 in 2009. About three in every four
crashes occurred on rural roadways and 71 percent occurred at
twilight or nighttime.
The top 10 counties for collisions involving deer in 2011
- Cook – 554
- Madison – 472
- Peoria – 435
- Will – 422
- Fulton – 417
- Kane – 395
- Pike – 362
- Lake – 360
- LaSalle– 339
“Being a defensive driver is always a good idea, especially
during the fall and winter months when deer are most active in
Illinois. It’s important to be on the lookout for deer
throughout the day but certainly at dawn and dusk,” said IDNR
Director Marc Miller. “Slow down, especially in areas where deer
are likely to be present and keep a safe distance behind the car
in front of you.”
Suggestions for motorists to avoid colliding with deer
- 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.
An Illinois resident and driver of a motor vehicle involved
in a vehicle-deer collision has priority in legally possessing
white-tailed deer killed or injured as a result of a collision
with the vehicle. If the driver does not take possession of the
deer before leaving the collision scene, any citizen of Illinois
who is not delinquent in child support may possess and transport
Non-residents may not claim a road-killed deer. Individuals
claiming such a deer must report the possession within 24 hours
at www.dnr.illinois.gov. Individuals without Internet access can
report such possession by calling (217) 782-6431 before 4:30
p.m. the next business day. If any part of the deer is going to
be taken to a taxidermist or tannery, the person making the
online or phone report is required to request a tag at the time