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Oh deer! West Virginia leads the nation in deer strike accidents

CHARLESTON, WV – Hunting isn’t all we think about when it comes to deer. According to insurance statistics, the Mountain State leads the nation in deer strike accidents on the state’s roads.
 
“We live in a mountainous, rural area where wildlife is prevalent,” said Joe Pack, P.E. West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) Chief Engineer of Operations. “The more rural the area, the more likely accidents are to happen.”
 
Between January 1, 2023, and Monday, November 20, 2023, 10,618 deer were hit on West Virginia highways, as well as 15 bears. Coyotes and other wild animals are also occasionally struck by cars on Mountain State roads.
 
Cleaning up after those accidents falls to the men and women who work in the WVDOH field offices spread throughout the state.
 
“We treat it just like any other road obstruction,” Pack said. A deer in the middle of an interstate poses more of a threat to the public than a deer on the side of a rural road, so the WVDOH takes care of the most dangerous sites first.
 
But WVDOH work crews might not be aware of every single animal strike. If you see a dead deer or other animal in or near a state roadway, you can report it through the Safety With Action Today (SWAT) hotline. Call 1-833-WVROADS, email WVROADS@wv.gov, or visit https://dotforms.wv.gov/cra to file a report of an animal strike online.
 
Citizens may also contact their local WVDOH field office.