The Deer Initiative

Don't Veer for Deer Campaign


Published date: 11/05/2017

A PUBLIC POLICY EXCHANGE SYMPOSIUM: The Role of Local Authorities in Safeguarding Wildlife on Local Highways: Protecting Wildlife and Improving Road Safety WAS HELD ON MAY 3RD 2017 AS PART OF ONGOING CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE DEER & WILDLIFE AWARENESS ON UK ROADS.

Protecting wildlife near highways and trunk roads is becoming increasingly problematic for local highway authorities. Lack of resources to tackle the problem is a recurring theme for many who try to prevent wildlife vehicle collisions.

In July 2016 the Local Authority Roads (Wildlife Protection) Bill passed through its first reading in Westminster. This Bill was expected to have its second reading on Friday 3 February 2017 however, it has since been dropped by the sponsoring MP and will not progress any further. The Bill was set to place a duty on local highways agencies and local transport authorities to make provisions safeguarding wildlife on roads passing through, or adjacent to, specified protected areas; and for connected purposes.

In light of recent political developments, this symposium provided a much needed opportunity to highlight solutions for protecting wildlife by discussing enhanced fencing, clearer signage and inclusion of animal crossings to be incorporated at the planning stages of new road projects. The event also offered an opportunity to further build on partnerships between local highway authorities and wildlife conservation trusts in order to establish sufficient research surrounding the wildlife vehicle collisions.The recurring theme throughout the day was a need for a more collaborative approach to data sharing, an approach we whole heartedly support.

Across the UK it is estimated that there could be between 40,000 - 74,000 deer-related motor vehicle accidents this year alone, resulting in 400 to 700 human injuries and more shockingly, 20 deaths. The combined economic impact of injury accidents and car damage is likely to exceed £50 million per annum.

• 1.5 million deer live wild in Britain

• There are six main species of deer

• There are up to 74,000 deer related traffic accidents in the UK each year

• There are several hundred human injuries and even human fatalities each year as a result

The highest risk of a deer-vehicle collision is between sunset and midnight, and the hours shortly before and after sunrise.

Advice to drivers - top tips from Highways England on the best approach if you come into contact with a deer whilst driving:

- When you see deer warning signs or are travelling through a heavily wooded or forested stretch of road, check your speed and stay alert.

- If your headlights are on, use full-beams when you can; but dip them if you see deer, as they may ‘freeze’.

- More deer may follow the first one you see.

- Be prepared to stop. Try not to suddenly swerve to avoid a deer. Hitting oncoming traffic or another obstacle could be even worse. #Don'tVeerforDeer!

- If you have to stop, use your hazard warning lights. - Do not approach an injured deer – it could be dangerous.

If you need to report a Deer Vehicle Collision or to find out more on safety advice, please visit

The Deer Aware web site exists to offer basic advice on how to avoid a collision and to collect data on the number of accidents. Our research is the only national effort to collect data that could be used to save lives - the information you submit is an essential part of this important effort.

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