Taking animal safety into consideration when building roads and highways doesn’t have to cost taxpayers’ money. In fact, preventative measures can reduce costly road accidents and save human lives
In a new study by the Federal Highway Administration, reported animal crashes are now estimated to cost Americans over $10 billion annually with a total of more that 200 crashes which prove to be fatal for humans.
Regional figures show that crashes with animals in the Midwest cause damages upwards of $3.8 billion with collisions mounting to well over 160,000 annually.
Missouri has about 4,500 animal crashes, with anywhere from 6-12 human fatal animal crashes yearly. Michigan had the greatest number of reported animal-vehicle crashes, with an average of over 54,000 each year.
The new study titled, “The Strategic Integration of Wildlife Mitigation into Transportation Procedures,” recommends use of a collision prevention manual for transportation professionals and their partners.
The manual, “The Strategic Integration of Wildlife Mitigation into Transportation Procedures,” incorporate wildlife concerns into roadway planning processes. The manual supports participating agencies and their partners in reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions.
Among the methods to help reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions are: retrofits of existing bridges and culverts; diversions of airborne birds, mammals, and insects above traffic; pathways along waterways and under bridges to allow for terrestrial passage; animal-detection driver warning systems; and other infrastructure-related additions to reduce transportation impacts to wildlife.
The probability of collisions with wildlife is now a factor that agencies weigh when planning. The manual focuses on how transportation agencies can reduce the challenges and effects of wildlife-vehicle conflict. This conflict is defined in the manual to include:
- Consequences of both terrestrial and aquatic animals’ inability to safely move across roads to necessary habitat across landscapes,
- Crashes with wildlife,
- Crashes caused by driver actions to avoid hitting wildlife,
- Road avoidance by animals that need to get across,
- Habitat fragmentation,
- Genetic isolation of wildlife populations due to roads, and
- Wildlife population loss and extinction.
For a study of how crashes affect specific species, McFarland Publishers has released a new title: American Roadkill: The Animal Victims Of Our Busy Highways.
The author of the McFarland text also has released a new children’s coloring book emphasizing road safety for children, as well as for their pets and the wildlife characters that children love.
The children’s coloring book, Terry Says: Let’s All Be Safe On Roadways, is available for $5 plus shipping. The American Roadkill: The Animal Victims Of Our Busy Highways is available at $25 plus shipping.
Both books are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org and the both book orders are below list price.