NMA Email Newsletter: Issue #50

Bambi Alert: Part 2

Following last week’s article on deer collisions a few questions were posed for which the answers may be of interest to other subscribers. So here they are:

Do deer whistles work?
The short answer is “no.” The theory is that deer will hear a sound not audible to humans (the same situation as with a dog whistle). Even if a deer did hear such a sound it does not mean the deer will respond in a positive manner. After all, deer can readily hear tire noise and related vehicle sounds and they still run into or in front of vehicles. Also, a bug, dirt, or snow obstruction renders the deer whistle silent, as does different vehicle speeds. Again, the answer is “no, deer whistles do not work as deterrent to collisions with deer.

Will auto insurance cover the damage resulting from hitting a deer?
“Comprehensive” (sometimes called “other than collision”) insurance includes coverage that pays for damage resulting from animal collisions. Collision insurance will also pay for this kind of accident. Some insurance companies do not consider an animal collision as an “at fault” accident and they will not increase subsequent insurance premiums as a result of the loss payment. Also, many policies have different deductible amounts for comprehensive vs. collision coverage. Liability coverage would only come into play if an unrelated passenger was injured, or another vehicle was somehow affected by the accident. Many policies also offer medical coverage that would cover treatment for injuries incurred by the driver and family members.

Must I report a collision with a deer to government authorities?
State laws are all over the map on this subject, but from a practical perspective most people report the accident to their insurance carrier, but they pass on reporting the accident to the state. (Most states set financial thresholds for reporting accidents, along with requiring reports if injuries are sustained.) This may be illegal, but it is not a high priority enforcement issue. If the vehicle is damaged such that it cannot be driven the police are often involved and an accident report will be generated. Despite legal requirements, most police agencies are quite happy not to be notified when there is a collision with a deer.

Can I keep a deer I hit with my car?
Again states are not consistent in this regard, but most have some provision for giving the affected motorist first choice to take the deer. Keep in mind that much of the meat can be damaged in the crash. Also, particularly in warmer weather, the deer should be immediately dressed (gutted), preferably before transporting. (That may be information many of you are not really interested in learning—:) )

On a unrelated, but interesting note:
Check out the new design of our Speed Trap Exchange website which lists over 55,000 speed traps across the USA and Canada. Please help out the NMA and your fellow drivers by posting the speed traps in your area. Forward the site to your friends and get their input too!

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