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Top 5 US spots for truck-animal collisions

3 are in Pennsylvania

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

A wild animal bolts into the road, giving a trucker little to no time to avoid a collision. It could happen just about anywhere. According to Lytx, a company that  designs and manufactures video telematics products used by the trucking industry, from July 2020 to July 2020, it was most likely in the five counties below — including three in Pennsylvania.

Lytx couldn’t break down the data by animal type but said that, anecdotally, most strikes involved deer. It just so happens that the whitetail deer is Pennsylvania’s state animal.

Anson County, North Carolina

Truckers had more reported collisions with animals in this rural part of southern North Carolina than any other part of the country. From July 2020 to July 2021, drivers ran into a total of 22 animals. The accidents were concentrated in Lilesville Township in northeastern Anson County, about 60 miles southeast of Charlotte, and includes the town of Lilesville.

Butler County, Pennsylvania

Coming in second for trucker-animal collisions is Butler County in western Pennsylvania. Drivers reported running into a total of 21 animals. The accidents were mostly in Brady Township in northwestern Butler County, about 50 miles north of Pittsburgh. The township includes the communities of Elora and Slippery Rock Park.

Lehigh County, Pennsylvania

In a third-place tie with Washington County, Pennsylvania, is Lehigh County in eastern Pennsylvania. Drivers reported colliding with a total of 15 animals. Most of the accidents were in Salisbury Township in southeastern Lehigh County, about 55 miles west of Philadelphia. The township borders Allentown, the third-largest municipality in Pennsylvania, as well as the city of Bethlehem.

Washington County, Pennsylvania

Drivers in Washington County in southwestern Pennsylvania also reportedly hit a total of 15 animals. The accidents were concentrated in East Bethlehem Township in southeastern Washington County, about 45 miles south of Pittsburgh. The township includes the census-designated area Fredericktown-Millsboro.

Mason County, West Virginia

Mason County in western West Virginia ranked fifth in accidents between truckers and animals. Drivers hit a reported total of 14 animals. The accidents were mostly in and near the town of Hartford City, which is along the Ohio River in northern Butler County, about 170 miles east of Cincinnati and 45 miles northwest of Charleston, West Virginia.

Other findings

Animal strikes for the top five spots peaked at 3 a.m., likely for the following reasons:

• Driver drowsiness.
• Lower visibility.
• Most animals struck tend to be nocturnal.

Truck-animal collisions by time of day for the top 5 collision spots in the U.S. (Source: Lytx)

Overall collisions across the country start to rise in October, peaking in November. This pattern correlates with the hunting season of many animals.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.