New wildlife warnings target city drivers

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Manitoba Public Insurance and City of Winnipeg unveil new electronic warning signs to increase awareness of highest risk wildlife zones

November 16 , 2006 – Manitoba Public Insurance and the City of Winnipeg will use electronic messaging boards to increase driver awareness of zones known to have high deer populations.

The Wildlife Warning board utilizes technology already used to warn drivers of their speed in dangerous situations. A highly visible electronic message will be flashed to drivers, warning them that there are �deer on the move� and to �stay alert.�

These will be positioned in hot spots throughout the city where statistics show there are a large number of deer collisions. Southwest Winnipeg has the heaviest deer population, but they are also found throughout the city.

�We know from talking with Manitobans that the speed reader boards we�ve deployed are an effective way to get a driver�s attention,� said Clif Eden, Manager of Road Safety for Manitoba Public Insurance. �We�re hoping the same principle will help increase alertness during November when deer are most active.�

About 300 deer were involved in crashes in the city last year. To help drivers identify areas of the city where the animals are most active, Manitoba Public Insurance has also developed a locator map on its website at http://www.mpi.mb.ca/english/newsroom/articles/2006/DeerZonesMap.pdf

Collisions between animals and vehicles continue to be problem in Manitoba. Just five years ago, wildlife claims accounted for 183 injuries and $21 million in claims damage. Last year, 215 injuries were reported and more than $27 million in claims payouts.

�While the economic costs of wildlife claims cannot be overlooked, the human cost is more worrisome,� Eden said. �In just five years, a thousand people have been injured. We know of at least four fatalities over the last four years that were directly attributed to deer wandering onto the roadways.

�Drivers are being encouraged to slow down, wear seatbelts and not assume an animal on a road or highway will get out of the way. Drivers should not veer for deer. It’s safer to hit a deer than to swerve into oncoming traffic or off the side of the road and risk hitting another vehicle or roadside object,” he said.

Historically, the months of October and November together account for more than a quarter of all wildlife crashes in the year, with November being the worst month. Last year, of the 9,858 wildlife claims filed with Manitoba Public Insurance, about 1,370 were filed in November � the rutting season for deer.

Tips to Avoid a Wildlife Collision

  • Remember that deer are more likely to be on the move during dusk and dawn hours.

  • Deer usually cross roadways in herds of two or three. If you see one animal, others may be nearby.

  • Do not attempt to remove an injured animal from the roadway. You risk being hit by passing vehicles. Call the local RCMP.

  • Scan the roadside for animals. Watch for �eyeglare� � the reflection of your headlights from the deer�s eyes.

  • If a deer crosses in front of you, dim your headlights. Your brights may cause the animal to freeze.

About MPI

Manitoba Public Insurance is a nonprofit Crown Corporation that has provided basic automobile coverage since 1971. Our services are available throughout Manitoba in claim centres and Customer Service centres. For more information, please visit http://www.mpi.mb.ca