Car Collisions vs. Nature's Friends

A new report says every year there are more than one million car accidents involving deer. That same report says that more than 150 people are killed in those accidents. The report was funded by the insurance industry. The report also says that deer versus car accidents costs Americans one $1.1 billion every year.

Jessie Johnson says he's pretty lucky. He hit a deer last week with his truck and this is all he has to show for it, but police say stories like Jessie's aren't the standard. They say deer and car collisions can be costly at least and deadly at worst.

"Any rural area, which is all over America, it's a problem. This time of year with the cooler weather, deer are known to move around more, feeding time is from dusk to dawn when visibility is restricted. It's a big issue," says John Bagnardi.

Auto body shop owners say this is about the time of year they see a lot of cars with damage caused by hitting deer.

"I've seen an Eclipse hit a full grown deer, and took off the whole front end. It was pretty bad," says J.R. Jones.

On average the National Safety Counsel says deer wrecks can cost 2 grand and up. Be careful in the early morning hours when deer are most active. Use slower speeds. If you see a deer the horn may scare them off the road. Do not swerve; instead brake as soon a possible. Always wear a seat belt, and remember if you see one deer there are probably more. If you do encounter a deer on the road, try not to panic.

In Georgia in 2001 the Insurance Information Institute says there were 51,000 collisions with car and deer. In Florida the information is based on how many phone calls were made to law enforcement, and that number is about half at 25,000.