Recent national and statewide trends in the relatively uncommon animal-related highway crashes that involve human fatalities were reviewed. Highway crashes in which animals are struck by vehicular traffic regularly occur throughout the United States. Invariably, such crashes are most damaging to the struck animals, while injuries to humans are usually not as severe. As such, significant research has focused on the plight of animals involved in traffic crashes. However, over the past decade animal-related crashes in the United States have claimed 1,353 human lives, costing the nation well over $1 billion in losses. The research reported focuses on recent national and statewide trends in fatality-producing animal-related vehicular crash frequencies and rates. Additionally, the temporal aspects of these crashes and trends in human and vehicle involvement in these crashes were investigated. The analysis used Fatality Analysis Reporting System data from 1991 to 2000, which were combined with data from other sources in a geographic information system. Analysis of the integrated data indicated that fatality-producing animal-related crashes are increasing nationally and that this trend is attributable to increasing vehicle miles traveled. The rate for fatality-producing animal-related crashes is holding steady at the national level. Human fatalities in such crashes occur at times when animals are more active, and unrestrained persons are more often killed than restrained persons. The information presented is suitable for agencies assessing the issue of human fatalities in animal-related crashes and for driver education and awareness programs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering