New Funding Proposed to Help Make Roads Safer for Wildlife
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In some states like California and Idaho it’s more common to see wild animals on highways and roads. Hitting a bigger animal on the road, like a deer, can be dangerous and cause a lot of damage to the vehicle.
Roads can be highly lethal for deer, moose, coyotes, and other animals that try to cross them. According to Bloomberg, Congress is working to fund animal crossings to keep animals safer on the road. The pandemic was a break for animals to cross roads freely
A new study reveals some startling data
While COVID-19 had devastating effects on human lives, the lockdowns were beneficial for animals. For a few short months, animals were able to cross the roads without fear of running into oncoming traffic.
Bloomberg reported that a study published in the Biological Conservation reveals that there were huge drops in the number of animal deaths on American highways. In fact, it was described as one of the largest conservation acts to ever take place in the United States.
The study found that the number of large wild animals killed per day on highways decreased by 34% during mid-March and mid-April in California, Idaho, Maine, and Washington. This was because driving fell nearly 71% as everyone remained at home.
The study revealed that mountain lions also benefited from the lack of traffic. In California, mountain lions saw a 58% drop in deaths. As expected, however, the death rate quickly increased as lockdown restrictions were lifted, and people began to venture back out onto the roads.
Bloomberg reported that, “While the study only accounts for large mammals whose vehicle-collision deaths get reported by state agencies, past research has estimated that 1 million vertebrates are killed every day on U.S. roads and highways.”
Fraser Shilling, co-director of the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, said that, “If we want to protect wildlife for the next generation, we have to reduce traffic or give them a safe way across the road.”
Congress is working on new transportation bills
Congress has started to look into plans to implement infrastructure to reduce animal deaths. Both the Senate and the House have proposed bills to create wildlife crossings across roads that run through animal habitats and block migration paths.
The Senate has reportedly dedicated $350 million, and the House has dedicated $450 million to these five-year transportation bills. If the bills pass, new bridges or underpasses will be built for roads that animals frequently pass through.
This would allow animals to cross the road without coming into oncoming traffic. It will also be a great benefit to drivers as well.
The new animal crossings will benefit both wildlife and drivers
Many young drivers are warned not to brake if an animal runs out in front of them. This is because the person behind you may not be able to stop in time, and it could cause a wreck. The average cost of repairs after a deer collision is between $2,500 to $6,000.
As reported by Bloomberg, wildlife crossings are found to be extremely successful. The set of overpasses and underpasses that were built for elk and moose along Highway 9 in Colorado reduced collisions involving wildlife by 88%.
In California alone, there are hundreds of collision hotspots. Building bridges for animals can help reduce animal deaths, but more will have to be done. Shilling said that climate change and poaching are also major contributors to wildlife declines.
If you live in an area where animals are frequently crossing the road, especially larger animals, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got the right insurance policy in case of an accident. Jerry is here to give you a hand. It takes 45 seconds to sign up for the free app. Jerry will compare rates from top insurance companies to find you the best price for the coverage you need.