Crashes involving animals are trending up.
ICBC recorded 2,200 crashes on Vancouver Island that involved animals in 2017 — up from 1,800 in 2013, for a five-year average of 2,100. Correspondingly, the number of injured (human) victims is going up from 90 in 2013 to 160 in 2017, for a five-year average of 140.
Looking at the rest of the province, Vancouver Island recorded 1,000 more crashes involving animals than the Lower Mainland in 2017 (1,200). Leading all regions was the Southern Interior with 4,800 crashes in 2017 responsible for 300 injuries.
Looking at the province as a whole, ICBC recorded 11,000 crashes in 2017 with 740 injuries with a five-year average of 11,000 crashes and 650 injuries. Crashes involving animals also caused nine fatalities between 2013 and 2016, with none in 2017.
Crashes include those with both domestic and wild animals, but the available ICBC statistics do no further distinguish between the two categories.
The ICBC statistics also fail to the capture the wider category of roadkill, as vehicle driver may kill domestic or wild animals without filing a claim with ICBC that meets its definition of a crash. They may know that they hit something but nonetheless continue on their way because of the animals’ size. Alternatively, some drivers have hit large animals, only to realize much later, that they had done so.
About 80 per cent of reported wildlife collisions involve large animals such as deer, according to the Wildlife Collision Prevention Program, a partnership between the British Columbia Conservation Foundation (BCCF) and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), in response to the increasing number and severity of wildlife-vehicle collisions in British Columbia.
Overall, experts estimate that millions of animals die annually on roads across North America.