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Spike in deer-related crashes in Kansas means big bucks for mechanics

deer sign
Posted at 6:03 PM, Nov 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-13 19:22:10-05

LENEXA, Ks. — Kansas hit a 10-year high with 10,734 deer-related vehicle crashes in 2018, according to new statistics released by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Those crashes accounted for 16.5% of all wrecks in Kansas last year, which is roughly one in six. Johnson County recorded the third-highest amount of deer-related crashes in the state and the second most for injury crashes.

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November marks the most dangerous month for deer-related crashes, and damage from these incidents can be seen at places like Collision Works in Lenexa.

“We’ve been getting deer hits about one a day,” manager Greg Denk Jr. said. “This week, we’ve taken in at least four deer hits.”

Around half a dozen cars on the lot Wednesday had damage from deer-related crashes, including busted front bumpers and pushed-in corners to dented doors and gashes in the hood.

One car in the garage, which Denk said came in weeks ago, needed around $10,000 in repairs after a collision with a deer.

“You can have damage on a car anywhere from $2,500 on up to $10,000 just depending on where it hits the car,” he said.

As a result of deer habits, October through December marks the peak time of year for deer-related crashes.

“It mainly comes down to biology,” Jessica Barnett of Kansas State Research and Extension said. “Especially in November, we’re seeing the peak of their mating season.”

Experts advise drivers to be more watchful at dusk and dawn, look for deer sign warnings and use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic.

Most of all, if a deer is ever in line with a driver, experts say the driver should hit the deer head-on instead of trying to swerve to avoid a possibly worse accident.

“Your trip into work and coming home from work are two of the big times you have got to be paying attention on the roadways,” Barnett said.

According to the numbers released from KDOT, Sedgwick County recorded the most amount of deer-related crashes last year followed by Butler County.