When Transportation Engineer Keith Knapp accepted a job at TTI a couple of months ago, he brought with him the multi-state Deer-Vehicle Crash Information Clearinghouse (DVCIC) and its website. Knapp has been director of the Clearinghouse since its inception and expects to continue to lead the effort through the Deer-Vehicle Crash Information and Research Center pooled fund. Because Knapp is now an associate research scientist with the Work Zone and Dynamic Message Sign Program, it means that TTI will soon inherit the Deer-Vehicle Crash Information and Research Center.
“The Clearinghouse was started in Wisconsin in 2001, designed to alert the public to the dangers associated with deer-vehicle collisions,” Knapp says.”We now also want research to get underway to find the best ways to reduce the number of these crashes.”
Knapp says about 150 to 200 people die every year in the United States as a result of the one million deer-vehicle collisions, costing $1 billion annually. “In Texas, there are only a few thousand animal-vehicle collisions reported each year, but based on what I’ve seen in other states and from insurance estimates, I suspect it might actually be larger than that.” Knapp says Texas usually leads the nation in the number of fatalities from deer-vehicle collisions.
Knapp says $260,000 is committed from six states in the midwest and northeast to fund the Deer-Vehicle Crash Information and Research Center, and he will soon find out if it will receive additional funding from Federal Highway Administration through the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP). “To me, this is a traffic safety issue, one that needs to be seriously addressed through a focused effort.”