Collisions with white-tailed deer on the rise in the Gaspé

Collisions with white-tailed deer on the rise in the Gaspé

New Richmond (Quebec) 26 June 2015 – The number of vehicle accidents involving deers has reached an all-time high in the southern section of the Gaspé Peninsula known as the Baie-des-Chaleurs in the last 3 years. Although not all accidents are reported to police, the number of incidents from 2011 to 2014 was reported at 461, which is double the number from the three previous years, an increase of 97%.

The number of reported encounters went from 110 in 2011 to 211 in 2014. An accident is reported when there are injuries or collateral damage involved which needs to be recorded for insurance purposes. Police attribute the increase to the larger number of deer in the area and the habit of drivers exceeding the speed limit in certain zones.

The phenomenon is restricted to the Baie-des-Chaleurs region because that is where there is the highest concentration of deer. The deer population in that area has gone from 1000 in 1992 to over 10,000 at last count.
The increase in accidents with deer is a concern both for the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Parks and Wildlife. According to Myriam Leclerc, the Transport Ministry spokesperson, there is no ideal solution.

Fencing the highways and allowing the passing of deer at certain points would only increase the number of accidents. The two branches of Government are starting an awareness campaign in the region to try and warn and inform the drivers of the dangers of speeding in deer crossing zones and to be more aware of the animals when they are on the sides of the roads. Deer have a tendency to jump out in front of cars when they see the headlights at night.

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