Oakland County is No. 1 in Michigan deer crashes

Michigan car-deer crashes are most common in Oakland County

By Roger Weber - Reporter

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. - Michigan recorded a 9 percent drop in car-deer crashes in 2012. However, it still happened to nearly 49,000 drivers across the state, and in no other place more than Oakland County.

There were 1,683 car-deer crashes in Oakland County last year. Bob Lorenz, of Howell, was on a motorcycle on US Highway 27 when he slowed for a herd of deer in the median.

"But then a buck decided to make a right turn. Hit the side of my bike, ejected both my wife and I from the bike," he said.

Sheriff Michael Bouchard says the deer in southeast Michigan face little hunting pressure.

"They proliferate. There's not really a predator to them and as a result their numbers continue to grow and when they grow they begin to travel," said Bouchard.

They especially travel during the mating season in late October and early November.

"If you see one, begin your braking process. Don't swerve because it's much better for you and the safety of everyone involved to stay in your lane," the Sheriff said.

Michigan's Deer Crash Coalition says the average vehicle damage is $2,100.

"I think a lot of people think that when you have a deer crash it's just the car that gets hurt. But we found that last year there were eight deaths resulting from these types of accidents and 1,300 injuries," said Lori Conarton, of the coalition.

Lorenz was seriously injured in his 2001 crash. He's glad he was wearing a helmet.

"I suffered a lower right leg and ankle fracture. And then tore out my right rotator cuff," he said.

Car-deer crashes are most likely to happen between dawn and dusk. Experts say remember that if you see one deer on or near the road others are probably nearby.

As the Sheriff points out, it's far better to hit the deer than to swerve into a tree or another car.

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