Risk of animal collisions increases warns RACV

RACV received nearly 15 animal collision insurance claims each day in the last financial year, as the frequency and cost of collisions between motor vehicles and animals increased more than five per cent, new RACV Insurance figures show.

RACV Insurance paid out more than $24 million to members involved in more than 5300 animal collisions in 2015-16. The average cost of claims was 2.1 per cent higher than the previous year.

Kangaroos were involved in 82 per cent of all animal collisions resulting in an RACV claim.

Wombats were the second most common animal involved in collisions, accounting for 240 claims, followed by dogs with 218 claims.  

RACV General Manager Motor Insurance Mark Geraghty said most animal collisions happened near dawn and after dusk.

“For kangaroos, the greatest risk periods are around 6am and 6pm. Collisions with wombats peak about 9pm and incidents involving dogs are fairly evenly spread throughout the day from 8am to 10pm,” Mr Geraghty said.

RACV’s community partner Wildlife Victoria is helping to create awareness of how to live sustainably with wildlife.  Chief Executive Officer Karen Masson said that kangaroos and other animals will often feed beside roads, where the grass tends to be fresher from water run-off.

“These areas are attractive to wildlife but it unfortunately creates a heightened risk for the animals and for road users, so it’s important to always be on the lookout for them,” she said.

Mr Geraghty said that while animal collisions could happen at any time during the year, the number of collisions involving kangaroos spiked in autumn and 30 per cent of wombat accidents were recorded in winter.

RACV Insurance received animal collision claims from every Victorian municipality, ranging from 413 in Greater Bendigo to two in Stonnington and one in Yarra. Of the Bendigo claims, 402 involved kangaroos, while a kangaroo and a dog were involved in the Stonnington collisions and a dog in the Yarra collision.

Mr Geraghty said motorists should always drive at a speed suitable for the conditions and remember that rapidly expanding urban areas increasingly bring us into contact with wildlife when we may not expect to.

“Whether a collision happens on a country road, highway or urban street, colliding with an animal can be heartbreaking.  It can put you and your family at risk and also prove costly if your vehicle needs repairing,” he said.

“While avoiding collisions is always best, motorists should hold adequate comprehensive insurance coverage to ensure that costs associated with a collision are recovered.”

Motorists are advised to call 1300 094 535 to report injured or sick native animals to Wildlife Victoria, which can treat injured animals or, if the animal didn’t survive check for young.

 

Top 10 Victorian local government areas for collisions with animals

Rank

Local government area

Claims 2015-16

Claims 2014-15

1.

GREATER BENDIGO

413

388

2.

MACEDON RANGES

307

291

3.

WELLINGTON

189

183

4.

WHITTLESEA

182

173

5.

YARRA RANGES

172

143

6.

HUME

169

165

7.

MOUNT ALEXANDER

164

127

8.

MITCHELL

158

175

9.

EAST GIPPSLAND

126

127

10.

NILLUMBIK

125

138

 

Animals most commonly involved in collisions

Rank

Animal

Claims 2015-16

Claims 2014-15

1.

KANGAROO

4370

4110

2.

WOMBAT

240

260

3.

DOG

218

204

4.

DEER

76

89

5.

CATTLE

70

61

6.

CAT

67

76

7.

FOX

51

39

8.

KOALA

31

17

9.

HORSE

28

16

10.

BIRD

22

30

11.

RABBIT

20

13

12.

SHEEP

17

19

Source: RACV Insurance claims data.

 

Tips for avoiding a collision with an animal

  1. Be aware that you are in kangaroo territory when driving on some regional and suburban roads. Take extra care at dawn and dusk when they are more active.
  2. Slow down and be more alert on road crests and bends, and on roads with shrubs or bush on the side, as these can obscure animals.
  3. If you see an animal, brake but do not swerve. It may be your first instinct to swerve but to do so could cause you to lose control of your vehicle and possibly run into another car or off the road.
  4. Be mindful of signs that advise motorists if animals are in the area and of cattle crossings.
  5. If you notice dead animals, slow down, as it is a sign that other animals may be in the area.
Written by Lynette Keogh, RACV Public Affairs on 9790 2572
September 01, 2016