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Utah State University

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Animal-vehicle collisions and their associated ecological impacts have been reported since at least the early 1920s and continue to be of national and international concern today. Over 1 million deer-vehicle crashes may occur each year in the United States. On average, ~2,300 deer are reported killed on Utah highways each year. Reported numbers of deer-vehicle collisions may be conservative because only from ½ to 1/6 of deer vehicle collisions that occur are actually reported to authorities. The number of wildlife-vehicle collisions continues to grow with increasing urban and suburban development, growing numbers of vehicle miles traveled per year (VMT), and an expanding road network. Utah is accessed and divided by ~9500 km (~5,900 miles) of state routes and ~56,327 km (~35,000 miles) of city and county roads that are being used by a growing number of drivers. From 1990 to 2001 (the most current data available), the number of licensed drivers in the state increased 43%, from 1,046,106 to 1,495,887. Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) increased from >14 million to >23 million (60.1%) over the same time period (Bureau of Transportation Statistics 2004). In addition, the population of Utah increased by 29.6% (510,319 people) from 1990-2000 and is projected to continue with an estimated increase of 554,401 people (24.8%) from 2000 to 2010. As the population increases, it is expected that licensed drivers and vehicle miles traveled will also grow, making the issue of animal vehicle collisions an ever larger safety and conservation priority.

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