A New Castle woman was killed Sunday when the vehicle she was in struck a cow moose on Interstate 70 near Frisco. The 31 year-old was in a passenger in a vehicle driving west on I-70 at 7:30 p.m. when the incident occurred. The driver was taken to Denver Health Medical Center and was released with minor injuries.
There are 725,000 to 1.5 million wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) in the U.S. every year. An average of 6 percent of accidents in Colorado are with wildlife, and the rate can be as high as 25 percent in some areas.
A collision with a moose is significant; the average moose stands 6.2 feet at shoulder height and weighs 1200-1600 pounds. A more common collision is that between motor vehicle and a deer; the average deer height is 3.5 feet and average weight is 125-300 pounds. While only 2% of deer-car collisions result in human fatalities, 85% of deer-motorcycle collisions result in human fatalities.
WVCs cause 29,000 human injuries annually and over 200 human fatalities. Almost half of all wildlife-related car accidents are because the driver swerved to avoid an animal crossing the road. These accidents cost over a billion dollars in property damage annually.
Deer-vehicle crashes occur most frequently from October to December. There are a number of precautions motorists can take to help prevent accidents with deer. Drivers wishing to avoid vehicle-deer collisions should:
- Heed posted deer crossing signs. These signs are placed in known active deer crossing areas.
- Be aware that deer are most active during the evening, between 6 and 9 p.m.
- At night, use high-beam headlamps as much as possible to illuminate the sides of the road where deer can linger.
- Be aware that deer often move in groups – if you see one deer, there is probably several more just a few yards behind.
- Do not rely on car-mounted "deer whistles," studies have shown deer are not affected by these devices.
- If a collision with a deer seems inevitable, it may be best not to swerve. The risk of injury is greatly increased by swerving, which can place you in the path of oncoming vehicles or may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.