If you’ve ever had the misfortune of colliding with a deer while driving down a Missouri highway, you probably have a pretty good idea of how devastating a wildlife accident can be.
Fortunately, a new initiative in Missouri is hoping to curb the state’s high rate of accidents, injuries, and fatalities caused by wildlife attempting to cross Missouri highways.
When Wildlife and Drivers Collide in Missouri
Missouri is home to an abundance of wildlife. Unfortunately, Missouri highways often cut directly through stretches of land that serve as home to deer, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and black bears.
Posted speed limits on Missouri highways can range anywhere from 60 to 70 mph. When a deer leaps into the road in front of a vehicle traveling at 70 mph, no one wins. According to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), there are around 3,500 wildlife-related car accidents each year on Missouri roadways.
While these accidents involve all manner of wildlife, deer-related crashes are by far the most common. A 2023 study estimated that a deer-related accident occurs every 2.4 hours in Missouri. These accidents lead to high levels of vehicle damage, serious injuries, and fatalities.
Fortunately, Missouri has big plans in the works to make the state’s highways a safer place for humans and wildlife alike.
MoDOT’s New Initiative to Reduce Accidents on Missouri Highways
At the end of 2023, MoDOT received a $320,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FWH). The grant money will be used by MoDOT to fund a year-long study on animal-crossing-related accidents on Missouri roadways.
Researchers will examine wildlife-related crashes, mapping out the most high-risk highway locations throughout the state. When the year-long study comes to a close, MoDOT will be able to target highway locations most commonly used as crossings by local wildlife.
Once the study is complete, Missourians can expect to see additional changes being rolled out by MoDOT. In the next phase of the grant project, the eventual plan is to use the study results to identify where animal crossings should be placed either under or over the existing roadway.
When the project reaches completion, wildlife across Missouri should have safer options for getting across the highway. At the same time, Missouri drivers will benefit from a significantly reduced risk of injury. With better crossing alternatives for the state’s wildlife, Missouri highways are expected to become a safer place for everyone who uses them.
Getting Legal Help After a Stl Louis, Missouri Crash
This new initiative holds the promise of significantly reducing Missouri’s rate of wildlife-related car accidents. However, it will be some time before the new animal crossings are up and running. In the meantime, wildlife crashes are still a pressing issue for Missouri drivers.
If you end up in a Missouri car accident involving a wild animal, don’t assume you’ll be stuck with the costs. You should always consult a Missouri car accident lawyer about your options before assuming your insurance doesn’t cover the costs of a wildlife-related crash in Missouri.