Residents all over the state of Virginia have to be extremely vigilant about wildlife when they are operating motor vehicles. Because large parts of the state, including the counties surrounding Charlottesville, are relatively rural, a high number of Virginia roads are vulnerable to situations where drivers encounter animals on the roadway. But even close to metro areas, there’s still the possibility of car collisions with wild animals. Virginia personal injury lawyers understand how big these risks really are, and how they apply to so many tragic instances of harm to local drivers or passengers.
Recent coverage on local NBC affiliate WVIR 29 in December shows an even bigger risk for local drivers, as more animals come closer to developed areas looking for food. A December 4 report cites experts from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries: officials claim that Virginia drivers have killed 58 bears throughout the year, in comparison to 38 in the years 2009 and 2011. That makes 2013 rate almost double what was the norm just a few years ago. Also, that’s in addition to the even higher rates of collisions related to deer activity, which can be a problem nearly anywhere in the state, even near sizeable cities such as Richmond or Charlottesville. Local Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. see a lot of injury cases where driver negligence or other factors caused a crash after an animal entered the road.
Risks for Local Residents
Officials cite a shortage of natural food, namely acorns, that lead bears to scavenge further afield looking for other kinds of food. This poses risks for both drivers and for outdoor pedestrians. Residents need to use common sense and practice good safety, around their homes or other public places and out in the wild, in order to limit their chances of interactions with these powerful and dangerous animals.
At the same time, drivers need to understand their risks on the road and drive carefully, with the knowledge that wild animals could enter the roadway. Statistics on the influence of wild animals on traffic accidents shows that, on the whole, drivers across the country kill more deer than actual hunters who go looking for buck or doe. This startling fact is part of a greater issue that needs to be more ingrained in public knowledge to prevent a serious kind of road risk.
There are steps Virginia drivers can take to lower their chances of hitting animals on the road. Drivers should take particular care in less developed areas, and in night-time hours when human traffic is at a low point. They can also benefit from sharing information through word-of-mouth, to identify relatively developed places where wild animals may tend to congregate, either because of nearby wildlife areas or other factors.
Getting Legal Assistance
A Virginia resident who’s been injured in a vehicle accident involving wildlife can call the offices of MartinWren, P.C. at (434) 817-3100 for advice from Virginia personal injury lawyers on how to proceed with a case, or document the factors involved in a collision.