(from AMA Rights - News & Notes - March 2007)
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) says they are trying to reduce highway collisions between vehicles and wildlife.
Using things like flashing lights and motion sensors are just a few of many solutions transportation experts are considering. According to transportation officials, nearly 200 people are killed nationwide each year in crashes involving wildlife, mostly deer. The collisions cost drivers almost $1.5 billion each year in property damage, deaths and injuries, officials said.
On US 40 east of Craig, CDOT also installed a series of unusual looking reflectors to create flashes of light at 54 angles, horizontally and vertically, when a vehicle’s light hits them. According to CDOT, the reflected light bounces back and forth across the road, deterring deer and other wildlife from crossing. Drivers can not see the light because of the way it’s reflected.
CDOT is also testing another project on US 160 between Durango and Bayfield, a system that works like a motion detector system. The system uses sensors buried 10 inches underground on either side of the highway. CDOT says when a deer or other animal triggers the sensor, a large light will go on to let an oncoming driver see there’s an animal on or near the road. The light may also startle the animal and keep it off of the road.
Meanwhile, an eight state research group recently met in Minnesota to brainstorm ideas for keeping wildlife off the road. Their leading proposal to reduce the accidents from happening involves testing the effect real or synthetic urine from predators such as wolves and coyotes have on deer. Officials say the urine would be put in canisters far from the road, hoping the smell would trigger an instinct for the animal to flee.