Animal collisions can cause severe vehicle damage, resulting in the need for repairs. In October, November and December, U.S. drivers on average have a 1 in 116 chance of a collision with an animal, according to an annual study by State Farm. The severity of crashes increases in the fall, the Highway Data Loss Institute reported.
The State Farm insurance company estimates that there were 1.9 million animal collision insurance industry claims for the past year. The average cost of November animal-strike claims from 2006 to 2019 was $3,685 per claim, according to the Highway Data Loss Institute.
However, there are several ways fleets and drivers can mitigate their risk.
Employ Advanced Technology
Technology plays a critical role in improving safety. “At the present time, collision avoidance appears to be the best tool to minimize deer strikes," said Chuck Pagesy, director of safety for Penske Truck Leasing.
Most collision avoidance systems use a technology called “lidar" that is similar to radar. “It will pick up deer, but the problem is that they are rarely stationary and may be off to the side of the roadway. They then dart in front of the unit at the last minute," Pagesy said.
Many Penske customers install deer guards on the front of their units as an added precaution to reduce damage to the grille, radiator and bodywork. “They look like giant tubular steel bumpers mounted in front of the OEM bumper," Pagesy said.
Follow Best Practices
There are several best practices that fleets and drivers can follow to mitigate the risk of an animal collision.
How to Repair Damage
Damage can range from front-end damage, such as a bumper, to damage to mechanical parts, such as an air conditioning condenser or radiator.
Penske has several resources to help customers if damage from an animal collision occurs, including coordinating towing, conducting repairs and providing substitution rental vehicles. In addition to working on its leased vehicles, Penske's collision repair centers can work on company-owned vehicles.
Penske's collision repair centers make the entire repair process fast and easy with detailed email photo estimates accepted by major insurers. The amount of time needed to repair a truck varies based on the type of damage and parts availability, but Penske provides regular updates on open repairs and job closeout reports that document the number of repairs and their cycle time.