Week of February 16, 2020
A weekly column by Police Chief Steven Wojnar of the Dudley Police Department
The makeup of Dudley provides a combination
of rural, residential, and business districts.
This mix offers a driver the opportunity to be exposed to some unique
circumstances while on the roads. We obviously
have a variety of wildlife moving around the area. Instances of deer strikes by motor vehicles occur
quite often. I wanted to make people
aware of this important issue and offer some information to avoid crashes.
The National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) conducted a study concerning the increasing dangers from deer-related vehicle accidents. These crashes have consistently risen over the years due to increasing deer populations and destruction of their habitat. Given the fact that Dudley has many open fields and wooded areas along many miles of road, the possibility of these incidents occurring increases. Anyone who has experienced these situations understands deer often run out into traffic. They are large animals and a collision can cause a great deal of damage as well as injuries to occupants.
Many resources provide explanations and tips for dealing with these situations. “The Culture of Safety” indicates most of these incidents will occur at dusk or early evening. Deer have tendencies to travel in packs, so if you see one, there is a high likelihood more are nearby. Pay attention to deer warning signs along highways in other prominent areas, as those locations have been determined to be places of frequent contact. In rural areas, be sure to visually scan fields or wooded places while driving to become aware of these animals.
Injuries and serious damage can occur when drivers swerve to avoid animals. The recommendation is to avoid major evasive maneuvers that can cause a serious crash. Often, it may be your best bet to strike the deer, or other animal for that matter, as opposed to colliding with a tree, an oncoming vehicle, or rolling your car over. These situations are always determined case by case. Encounters of this nature are unexpected. It is critical to be aware of your surroundings, watch your speed, and drive defensively.
Thanks again for your questions and comments. Please send them to me at the Dudley Police Department 71 West Main St., Dudley, Ma. 01571 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed in this weekly column are those of Chief Wojnar only and unless clearly noted, do not reflect the ideas or opinions of any other organization or citizen.
Chief Steven Wojnar has been with the Dudley Police Department for nearly 30 years. Wojnar worked his way up the department, first becoming a Dispatcher/Reserve Police Officer in 1988 and a Full-Time Patrolman in 1990. In 2002, Wojnar received a promotion to the rank of Sergeant, and less than a year later in 2003 became the Chief of Police. He recently served as the President of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association from December 2017-December 2018.