Kansas sees record-high deer-related wrecks

Auto body shops seeing increase in business
Kansas sees record-high deer-related wrecks
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Deer season hits drivers hard, literally.

“Last year we had one dart out and run just directly into our van. Every single panel of our car on one side was destroyed,” said Margaret Kerr, a Kansas driver.

At Barrett Body & Frame in Pittburg, the shop is swamped with vehicles in similar shape.

“Of all the years I’ve done this, this is the worst year we’ve ever had with it. It’s just multiplied since November 1. We’ve been having 4 or 5 a day,” explained Jessica Southard, manager of the shop.

Repairs range in price, but nothing is cheap.

“Deer hits can be anywhere from $1,800 up to $10,000. I mean we’ve had that range so far this year,” she said.

A KDOT report shows more than 10,000 deer wrecks in Kansas during 2018. That accounts for 16.5% of all wrecks for the year, roughly one in six.

“Every year it’s been going up in our area. Cherokee and Crawford counties, just the last two days, we had 25 in Cherokee County and 20 in Crawford County. We will normally, in those two counties, pick up 150 carcasses off the highway, just for November,” said George Dockery with the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The high numbers can be attributed to mating season and the time change. With the days getting darker faster, deer are on the move. Drivers should be extra aware, especially at dawn and dusk. Experts say you should avoid the urge to swerve and always wear a seat belt. If you do hit a deer, call for help.

“Put your flashers on so you can be alerting other motorists and then call 911 and they will dispatch an officer out to help you and take care of what business needs to be done,” said Dockery.

“We just tell our kids, every time you get in the car and drive on the highway, say a prayer before you take off because a deer can be a fatal accident,” said Kerr.

According to the numbers released from KDOT, Sedgwick County recorded the most deer-related crashes last year, followed by Butler County.

In Missouri, drivers have had nearly 2,000 run-ins with deer so far this season.

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