20 September 2011 Putting a Dent in the Cost of Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions Posted by: Defenders of Wildlife | Leave a comment | Share: If you’ve ever been in a wildlife-vehicle collision, you know they not only put a dent in your fender, they can put a big dent in your wallet. A recent study calculated the average total costs associated with collisions with three species: $6,617 per collision for deer, $17,483 for elk and $30,760 for moose. OUCH! The insurance industry estimates that Americans spend over $1 billion dollars per year in property damage due to wildlife-vehicle collisions. But did you know you pay for accidents with wildlife, even if you’ve never been in one? Wildlife-vehicle collisions consume resources from law enforcement, emergency services, road maintenance crews and wildlife management personnel – so we ALL pay for them (even if you don’t own a car!). The best estimate of the total annual costs to society associated with wildlife-vehicle collisions is nearly $8.4 billion. With our country’s current recession, we can’t afford to throw money away. We also need to create jobs. So I’m proposing a Recession Roadkill Stimulus program. It’s a two pronged plan to save money, save lives and save wildlife. First, what if we could keep that $8.4 billion per year in American pockets? Even one unfortunate run-in with a deer not only costs working Americans thousands in repairs and medical costs, but could leave them without their only means of transportation to their job. By reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions, we decrease the financial burden on the hundreds of thousands of families every year. A night-vision camera captures a black bear using a wildlife underpass in Montana. Second, in order to keep wildlife and cars from crossing paths, we need to build wildlife crossings that allow animals to pass safely under or over roads. They can move around to find food, mates and shelter without having to step onto the pavement. And what does the planning, designing, building and installing these structures mean? Jobs! In his State of the Union address, President Obama said to rebuild America, we need to put “more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges.” His 2009 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided $26.6 billion for transportation projects. What if we had spent just 2 percent of that on reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions? That’s $532 million – more than $10 million per state. According to a recent study, every $10 million committed to ARRA highway projects produced 24,000 job hours. Not too shabby! Stay tuned: Congress is expected to work on a new highway bill over the next few months. Defenders and our partners will be asking for provisions to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and we will need them to hear your voices loud and clear. Together, we can put a dent in wildlife-vehicle collisions. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Helicopter gunning kills 23 wolves in Idaho; Urge Secretary Jewell to abandon gray wolf delisting proposal — Call your representative by March 14; Washington wildlife agency urged to end support for abolishing federal wolf protections; The latest on Governor Otter’s wolf control board. Two Too Many Development Projects in the Ivanpah Valley While these projects most definitely directly impact a species that has been identified as threatened and is dependent on the habitat where they would be built, Silver State South and Stateline’s approval is most troubling for a bigger reason. You see, this isn’t just an issue for the Ivanpah Valley. Developers and agencies need to be conscious of how and where they plan energy projects all across the country. They need to look at renewable energy planning with a landscape-wide lens, understanding that building in the right places and making an effort to minimize environmental impacts from the start are essential. California’s Rim Fire: Opportunities Rise from the Ashes After California’s devastating Rim Fire, will officials take the opportunity to give nature a chance to fully recover?