Driver education courses often provide advice on how to avoid vehicle-wildlife collisions. But beyond those brief moments in a classroom and the semi-annual “drive safe” messages from police services, wildlife is a non-issue for drivers – that is until they experience a vehicle-wildlife collision themselves.
However, a road safety non-profit and a national insurance company are taking a more proactive approach to help drivers, researchers, municipal and provincial planners, and even vehicle manufacturers reduce these dangerous collisions.
In a joint statement, the partners noted that 296 people in Canada died from 2001-2009 as a result of wildlife-vehicle collisions, with an estimated financial cost of $200 million. This of course doesn’t include the untold thousands of wild animals who die annually through such collisions.
“Vehicle collisions with wildlife continue to pose a risk as traffic volumes increase, in part because road networks and other transportation corridors (e.g., railways) act as barriers to wildlife and ecological systems,” Canadian Underwriter quoted from the statement.
The website, which is now live, is an impressive collection of published research, how-to guides, tips, and other resources. An entire section on mitigation options is broken down by driver behaviour, wildlife behaviour, and technology. The concepts of population reduction are unfortunately listed, too, but are buffeted with ‘disadvantages’ listed beneath each.
All in all, it is a very positive effort by a new partnership that shows how wildlife education and investment can lead to improvements for the human population, the economy, and wildlife families everywhere.
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