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Warning issued to motorists after figures reveal hundreds hurt in deer collisions

PUBLISHED: 16:15 15 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:15 15 May 2019

Red Deer in the fields at Snettisham Park Farm. Picture: Ian Burt

Red Deer in the fields at Snettisham Park Farm. Picture: Ian Burt

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Drivers are being warned about the dangers of deer roaming on to country roads after new figures showed it could result in hundreds of injuries to motorists and passengers a year.

Highways England has released data from a number of studies which show that about 400 people were injured and around 20 killed each year in deer-related collisions which result in the deaths of between 40,000 and 74,000 animals.

The latest statistics come just days after an inquest was opened into the death of a Norwich motorist who was killed in a crash on the A11 after an initial collision with a deer.

Rikki Loades, 31, of Colossus Way, Norwich, died on Monday, April 29 near Wymondham.

At the time, a police spokesman said emergency services attended the scene around 4.55am after two cars hit a deer.

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There was then a collision involving an HGV and Mr Loades died at the scene.

An inquest opening at Norfolk Coroner's Court earlier this month heard the cause of death was given as multiple injuries due to a road traffic collision. A full inquest will take place on October 23.

And with this time of year seeing a peak in deer collisions, as many of the animals cross roads seeking new territories, Highways England together with The Deer Initiative, a group which looks to maintain a health deer population, have teamed up to give advice to drivers.

It includes checking speed, staying alert, dipping headlights if drivers see deer to avoid the animals "freezing" on the spot, and looking for other deer if you see one.

Leonardo Gubert, senior ecologist at Highways England, said: "Sadly, the outcome of a collision involving a deer can be much more catastrophic than vehicle damage or injury to the animal."

He urged motorists to be extra vigilant, particularly at this time of year, and follow the advice that was being given.

David Jam, director of The Deer Initiative, said: "The recent spate of accidents is a stark reminder about the dangers of deer on our roads. We urge drivers to check their speed and stay alert especially when they see deer warning signs or are travelling through a heavily wooded or forested stretch of road."

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