Car-deer crashes are a year-round problem in Michigan, according to the Insurance Institute of Michigan. During 2010, there were 55,867 reported car-deer crashes in this state. That translates into one car-deer crash every nine minutes. Other nearby states face a similar problem with auto-deer collisions, including Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio.
An intelligent, less expensive, next generation animal-vehicle collision avoidance system that has additional intelligent transportation and roadside communications capabilities is now on the market. Austrian company IPTE Schalk and Schalk OG completed development of its that can significantly reduce animal-vehicle collisions, and can provide additional feedback by configuring the units to report the system’s health and limited weather conditions and/or traffic data. The product is being distributed in the US by JAFA Technologies, Inc. of Mount Laurel, NJ.
The units are activated by approaching headlights that set off an audible alarm and accompanying strobe light that acquires the attention of the animal long enough to give it reason to take pause in its travel toward the roadway, allowing a vehicle to pass. Since only an approaching vehicle triggers the device, animals are allowed to cross roadways at times when they do not present a danger to traffic. The “brains” of the unit are a durable circuit board and processor, and power is provided by a solar charged arrangement. Approximately 10,000 units have been deployed and tested at locations in the US and Europe over the past five years with documented results, indicating a decrease in animal-vehicle collisions of 70% to 90%, and even a 100% decrease in some cases, according to the companies. The next generation unit will be showcased at the ITS World Congress in Vienna in October.