Motorists warned of high risk of deer on roads in May

WATCH OUT: A couple of roe deer roam around a car park.'Picture: Submitted.
WATCH OUT: A couple of roe deer roam around a car park.'Picture: Submitted.

Vehicle accidents involving deer peak at this time of year, as yearling animals disperse, looking for their own territories.

Because of this, SNH, in conjunction with Transport Scotland, are placing warning messages on variable messaging signs on high-risk trunk roads across Scotland from now until Friday, 31 May.

The signs are targeted on roads with higher rates of deer-vehicle collisions, covering areas of the Central Belt as well as Aberdeen and Inverness. Signs warn motorists of the high risk of deer on road.

The most recent deer-vehicle collisions research shows there are more than 7,000 collisions between motor vehicles and deer every year in Scotland, with an average of 65 of these resulting in human injuries.

The combined economic value of these accidents, through human injuries and significant damage to vehicles is £7 million.

Across the UK, it’s estimated there are between 42,000 and 74,000 deer-vehicle related accidents a year, resulting in 400 to 700 human injuries and about 15 deaths, with an annual cost approaching £47m.

Dr Jochen Langbein of the Deer Initiative, said: “The fact that only around one-fifth of all UK deer-vehicle collisions occur in Scotland doesn’t mean the risk to drivers here is any lower.

!On the contrary, the risk of deer collisions per driven mile is actually greater in Scotland, as total traffic volumes in England are nine times higher than in Scotland.”

Sinclair Coghill, SNH wildlife management officer, added: “We should all be aware of the risk of deer on the road when we’re driving, especially at this time of year.

“We’d ask motorists to slow down and watch for deer crossing in front of traffic. Be particularly alert if you’re driving near woods where deer can suddenly appear.”