By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming has seen zero fatalities resulting from collisions between animals and vehicles this year so far, a great statistic Wyoming Department of Transportation officials hope to see continue.
WYDOT provided information to Cowboy State Daily regarding these types of collisions, breaking down what animals are usually involved and the trend of animal/vehicle crashes over the last five years.
In 2020, there have been 15 crashes that resulted in injuries related to wildlife, with a total of 19 injuries occurring in those crashes. There have been 904 animal-related crashes this year, with 889 only causing some type of property damage.
Of all the 2020 crashes, three were considered critical, meaning there was a serious injury involved.
When it comes to a vehicle crashing into an animal in Wyoming, injuries are more likely than a fatality, according to the data provided. The highest number of fatalities resulting from such crashes was three in 2015.
The highest number of injury crashes involving wildlife occurred in 2017, with 77 crashes and 99 injuries.
A 10-year chart tracked what type of animals are involved in crashes on Wyoming highways, with deer being named the winner by a landslide. From 2009 to 2019, there were 23,058 collisions involving deer.
Second was antelope, with just over 2,000 being involved in crashes over a decade.
Buffalo were ranked lowest on the list, with only 50 crashes involving the animals occurring over a 10-year span.
The animal report stated there were 13 fatal crashes involving wildlife over the 10 years, with 16 people dying in that time.
“W[YDOT] urges motorists to slow down, look for animals alongside the roads as they sometimes dart out in front of drivers, pay attention to posted wildlife warning signs, be extra vigilant during dawn, dusk and at night and not swerve to avoid an animal,” WYDOT spokeswoman Aimee Inama said. “When you swerve, you run the risk of a head-on collision with another vehicle, you can flip your vehicle or you can end up in the ditch.”