LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos is encouraging Southwest Michigan drivers to keep an eye out for deer and to follow safety advice when encountering a deer on the road.
“October and November during deer hunting seasons are the most dangerous time of year for deer-vehicle crashes,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “While one of every six car accidents in Michigan involves a deer, many accidents and fatalities occur when drivers swerve to avoid the deer.”
According to Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, there were 45,690 car-deer crashes last year. This includes 716 accidents in Berrien County, 437 in St. Joseph County and 379 in Cass County.
“In 2014, six people were killed and another 1,072 injured in car-deer crashes in Michigan,” Proos said. “Although car accidents with deer can be deadly, it is still far more dangerous to swerve to avoid a deer. A colleague of mine has hit at least a dozen deer during his time in the Legislature, and he was able to walk away from each one because he didn’t swerve.”
The Michigan Deer Crash Coalition offers the following safety tips:
• Always wear your safety belt;
• Stay alert, especially at dawn and dusk;
• If you see one deer, slow down as deer often travel in groups; and
• If a crash is unavoidable, don’t swerve, brake firmly, hold onto the steering wheel, stay in your lane and bring your car to a controlled stop.
Find more safety tips and information at www.MichiganDeerCrash.com.
“If you unfortunately hit a deer, a new state law makes it easier for you to keep it,” Proos said. “A driver who is in a collision with a deer that kills the animal can now simply contact the Department of Natural Resources or local law enforcement and indicate their intent to keep the deer.”
Residents can also keep the deer by obtaining a salvage tag. In Southwest Michigan, residents can get a tag by calling the DNR customer service center in Plainwell at 269-685-6851.
Proos said that archery season for deer is underway and regular firearm season begins on Nov. 15. For more information about deer hunting, visit www.michigan.gov/hunting.
Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.