Wildlife Road Safety Report reveals dangers of animal collisions
The NRMA and NRMA Insurance today released its Wildlife Road Safety Report revealing the frequency of wildlife related road accidents and reminding drivers of the safety risks of animal collisions ahead of the busy holiday period.
The report showed there were more than 900 collisions that caused injuries, ranging from minor through to fatal crashes, on New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory roads between 2015-2020. In 2020, there were 116 accidents reported due to animal collisions including 30 serious injury crashes[i].
With many Australians this year planning road trips ahead of a restriction-free summer on travel, the NRMA and NRMA Insurance are urging road users to drive safely and be vigilant of the risks of colliding with native wildlife which can result in extensive damage to your vehicle and cause a serious or fatal accident.
NRMA Spokesperson Peter Khoury said:
“It’s estimated that 10 million animals die on Australian roads every year[ii] and what people might not know is that approximately 3% of crashes in regional areas are the result of impact collisions with wildlife.”
“We know that driver behaviour is the single biggest contributor to motor vehicle accidents, so more focus needs to be placed on driver education around how to minimise the risk of accidents involving wildlife, particularly when driving on regional and rural roads.”
Drivers are encouraged to be particularly alert at dawn and dusk as this is when wildlife tends to be most active. If an animal moves in front of your vehicle, it’s critical that drivers do not swerve.
Data from NRMA Insurance and its parent-company IAG revealed the most notorious Local Government Areas (LGAs) for animal collisions in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, with Dubbo (689), Canberra (568) and Goulburn (479) rounding out the top three LGAs based on claims numbers.
NRMA Insurance Executive Manager Motor Assessing David Wilkes said:
“We always urge drivers to make safety behind the wheel their number one priority, and being aware of the potential for animals to cross onto the road is part of that. Our claims data shows that stretches of road and highways in regional areas pose a greater risk of animal collision compared with suburban streets, with impacts from animals typically causing damage to panels and bumpers, indicators and doors.”
Beyond vehicle damage, NRMA data analysis suggests societal costs of road trauma as a result of animal collisions are approximately $7 billion per year.
“The NRMA has been a strong advocate for improved road infrastructure particularly on the Pacific Highway. It has been pleasing to see recent upgrades to this important stretch of highway, to improve both driver and wildlife safety outcomes including the addition of underpasses and bridges for animals to safely cross the highway corridor,” Mr Khoury said.
To further support Australian biodiversity, the NRMA has partnered with the Wildlife Recovery Australia (WRA), a joint venture between Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital (BBWH) and the Odonata Foundation to create custom wildlife rescue kits so drivers can do more to help injured wildlife found on the roads.
The two-year partnership will also see the NRMA provide $500,000 in funding to improve facilities for animal welfare and develop biodiversity projects in locations near NRMA Holiday Parks.
[i] 2015-2020 Centre for Road Safety Wildlife Collision Data: Reports and publications – Statistics – NSW Centre for Road Safety