Moose collision injuries on the rise

New stats from Newfoundland’s Department of Transportation indicate that while the number of injuries from motor vehicle accidents has reduced over a 10-year span, the number of injuries from moose vehicle collisions has increased.

These numbers come in the wake of calls for the provincial government to take immediate steps to reduce the number of collisions on Newfoundland’s roads.

Ches Crosbie, a St. John’s lawyer leading a class-action lawsuit against the government on behalf of collision victims, says the number of injuries from moose collisions is increasing, and it’s about time the province stepped in.

“Some people say that moose-vehicle collision injuries are a small portion of road injuries in this province and don’t deserve the attention they get,” Crosbie told the CBC in a statement.

“But government statistics show they’re doubling every 10 years. Meanwhile total injuries from all other accidents are decreasing.”

Crosbie’s lawsuit, which is set to go to trial this April, will seek compensation for victims of moose-related vehicle collisions.

According to the new stats, which cover 2001 to 2012, the lowest point in injuries was 63 in 2008, and the highest was 134 in 2012. An injury was determined if the person needed be treated or admitted at the hospital.

Despite the province investing millions in fencing and two wildlife detection systems, which were installed along busy highways and flash warning lights to motorists when animals are nearby, Crosbie is still demanding the government invest more money in fences to prevent future collisions.

Wildlife vehicle collisions are a problem across the country. In Alberta, over- and underpasses have been built for animals to cross busy highways to new habitats. In Ontario, right-of-way brush removal and infrared detection are helping to decrease the number of collisions.

With an estimated 120,000 moose living in Newfoundland (and some say that number is closer to 200,000) the island contains the highest-density moose population in the world. Striking one of these majestic beasts at high speeds—moose can weigh between 350 and 700 kilograms—can mean damage, or death, to both the passengers and the animal.

Newfoundland’s Department of Environment and Conservation recommends that you slow down while driving at night and pay attention to Warning Signs and areas marked as High-Risk to prevent wildlife-related accidents.