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Safeguarding public safety and monitoring deer vehicle collisions

To better understand the impact of deer on public safety Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) monitors the incidences of deer vehicle collisions (DVCs) and the resultant risk to drivers on Scottish roads. In relation to road safety there are a number of priority sites where attempts have been made to reduce the risk posed by deer fencing, vegetation management, focussed deer management and different types of signage to improve driver awareness.

In addition SNH has a regulatory role where there are expressions of concern over public safety and deer. This can include incidences such as the presence of deer within airport compounds where they present a hazard to aircraft.

Deer vehicle collision project

Staff in Scottish Natural Heritage manage the Deer Vehicle Collision Project which looks to assess the scale and distribution of DVCs across the country. The final report is available below-

2008 - 2010 DVC (Scotland) Report  PDF document

A second DVC project will run from 2010 to 2013 looking to build on the understanding of the scale of the problem of DVCs and prioritise areas where mitigation should be implemented. Using reliable data sources from trunk road operating companies, SSPCA, regional councils, police records and insurance claim records, the report highlights areas where DVCs occur. Stretches of road with higher levels of collisions per km of road have been identified. This information has helped inform awareness raising campaign such as the targeted spring and autumn campaigns using variable message signs on the trunk road network to make drivers aware of the seasonal increased risk of seeing deer on roads.

Further information is also available on a research projects to better understand the indirect costs as a result of DVCs and the effectiveness of vehicle speed activated signs on trunk roads in the NW Highlands.

Vehicle Activated Sign Report  PDF document

For specific details on DVCs on roads across Scotland, please contact the Wildlife Operations Unit, whom own and manage the national database for further information.

Advice to drivers

  • When you see deer warning signs, 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'.
  • There may be more than one deer waiting to cross in your path.
  • Be prepared to stop. Try not to suddenly swerve to avoid a deer. Hitting oncoming traffic or another obstacle could be even worse.
  • If you have to stop, use your hazard warning lights. 
  • Do not approach an injured deer - it could be dangerous.
  • If you collide with a deer (or witness a collision) and someone may be injured, or the presence of vehicles/deer in the road are a risk to road safety, then you should treat this as an emergency and ring 999 for Police or Ambulance service immediately, or use an Emergency Roadside Telephone if there is one available.

Advice to planners

SNH will continue to provide advice to Local Authorities and road developers, on landscape and fencing design and vegetation palatability and management, to ensure that new roads schemes are designed in such a way to reduce the likelihood of DVCs. Deer officers have been involved with large scale schemes such as the M80 upgrade in Glasgow where are there are large density populations of roe deer living in close proximity to people.

Last updated on Friday 19th February 2016 at 16:10 PM. Click here to comment on this page