Harrisburg, PA - Acting Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman and State Police Commissioner Tyree C. Blocker today reminded drivers this is the time of year they are most likely to be involved in a deer-related crash and that insurance companies cannot add a surcharge to auto insurance premiums for such crashes.
“I want to remind drivers that under Pennsylvania law a crash involving a deer, other animal, or fowl is considered a not-at-fault accident, and insurers cannot add a surcharge to your premium for a deer-related crash,” Acting Commissioner Altman said, adding this exclusion does not apply if your car does not come in contact with the deer. “In addition, vehicle damage from these circumstances is handled under a driver’s comprehensive coverage.”
Figures compiled by State Farm Insurance show that Pennsylvanians have a 1-in-63 chance of being involved in a deer-related crash. PennDOT reported more than 4,100 such crashes in 2016, resulting in 573 injuries and four fatalities in Pennsylvania. State Farm Insurance reports the average cost of a deer-related collision is nearly $4,200.
November is the month when drivers are most likely to have a deer-related crash, according to insurance industry information. October and December are the second and third most likely months for these crashes.
“The fall is breeding season for deer, and they may be less aware of their surroundings,” Altman advised. “Deer often travel in groups, so if you see one deer, there are often more nearby.”
Dawn and dusk are the peak times for deer activity, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. With daylight saving time ending November 5, more drivers will be traveling to and from work at these times of day.
“Deer-related crashes and other traffic collisions happen in a split second and can cause serious damage and injury,” said Commissioner Blocker. “Traffic crashes can be stressful, which is why it is important to be prepared and know what to do in the event of a collision.”
In Pennsylvania, two types of crashes must be reported to the police: crashes that result in one or more vehicles being damaged to the point that they cannot be driven from the scene and collisions that result in injury or death. Minor crashes or fender benders that do not result in injury may be reported to the police, but it is not legally required. Drivers involved in all collisions are required to exchange license and insurance information with involved parties and render aid when necessary.
Commissioner Blocker also reminded motorists to obey Pennsylvania’s Steer Clear Law, to protect the lives of police, paramedics, and other first responders on the roadways. Drivers are required to move at least one lane away from emergency responders at the scene of a traffic accident. If it is not safe to move over because of traffic or other conditions, drivers must reduce their speed.
Failure to move over or slow down could result in a citation that carries a fine of up to $250 for a first offense. If the violation leads to the serious injury of an emergency responder, the penalty is a six-month license suspension and a fine of up to $5,000.
“The single best thing a driver can do to prevent a deer-related crash or other traffic collision is to slow down,” Commissioner Blocker said. “Now that it’s getting darker earlier, remember to turn on your headlights beginning at sunset. And any time your windshield wipers are on, your headlights are also required to be on.”
To report a dead deer for removal from state-maintained roads, motorists can call the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.
If consumers have questions about auto insurance, they should contact the Insurance Department Consumer Services Bureau by calling 1-877-881-6388 or at www.insurance.pa.gov. For more information on the Pennsylvania State Police, visit www.psp.pa.gov.
For information on deer-related crashes by county, click here. For deer-related crashes involving injuries by county, click here. For deer-related fatalities by county, click here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ron Ruman, Insurance, 717-787-3289; Ryan Tarkowski, PSP, 717-783-5556 -
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