Kangaroos and wallabies are the most likely species to be involved in animal-related NSW road accidents that result in human death or injury and vehicle damage, a UNSW study has found.
More than 5,000 such accidents were recorded in NSW in the decade between 1996 and 2005. They resulted in more than 1,700 people being injured and another 22 killed when drivers collided with or tried to avoid animals.
But the real toll is likely to be much higher, noted the researchers Dr Daniel Ramp and doctoral student Erin Roger of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
"Vehicle accidents related to the presence of an animal on a road are significantly under-reported. Often, drivers swerve to miss animals only to hit roadside obstacles, such as trees and poles or oncoming vehicles," said Dr Ramp.
Straying stock, dogs, riderless horses and other large animals were the next most likely culprits. Wombats, emu, stock being driven or led, cats and rabbits also featured in the accident statistics compiled by the researchers.
Crashes were significantly more likely to happen at weekends and twice as likely to happen in the winter months, from April to August. The great majority occurred on dry roads in fine weather between dusk and dawn, with the peak period being between 6pm and 7pm.
Accident hotspots identified
"We have identified several major hotspots for crashes involving animals," Dr Ramp said. "They were concentrated along the Hume, Barton and Federal highways, with peaks around the intersections, particularly those at Canberra and Yass."
Other hotspots were located near Dubbo, Newcastle and Byron Bay. Clustering of crashes involving "straying stock" was greatest at Lismore, Newcastle and the foothills of the Blue Mountains.
For dogs, the foothills of the Blue Mountains accounted for the vast majority of crashes during the study period.
Read the full story at the Faculty of Science website.