Per the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), from 2008 to 2015, there were over 47,000 car accidents where vehicles hit animals just in the 13 counties that make up Northern New Jersey. According to federal research data, statewide, 90 percent of vehicle-animal crashes are deer-car collisions. These types of crashes can be devastating, causing severe vehicle damage, catastrophic injuries to car occupants and killing deer.
Deer-car collisions can be difficult to avoid, especially if they occur at night. Deer can wander onto the road seemingly out of nowhere giving drivers little to no time to react or avoid the collision. However, a new smartphone app being tested out in Finland could change that.
How Could a Phone App Help Drivers Avoid Hitting Deer?
Per an article in The Press of Atlantic City, there are around 300,000 deer in the Lapland region of Finland and an estimated 4,000 deer are killed on Finnish roads annually. Finland has tried several methods to cut down on deer-car collisions, such as spray painting the antlers of the deer bright colors and having the deer wear reflectors around their necks. Unfortunately, nothing so far has proven successful.
The latest attempt at reducing car accidents between vehicles and deer involves a smartphone app. The app is called Porokello, which is Finnish for “Reindeer Bell.” So far, the app appears to be helping. After a month of use, Finnish officials reported that there were 300 fewer deer-car collisions than in the same month the year before.
Porokello works by enabling the driver to hit a button their smartphone’s screen when they spot a deer while driving. This allows the app to use GPS to create a one-mile warning zone in the area where the deer was spotted. The warning zone lasts for one hour and alerts any approaching Porokello user to slow down as they pass through the warning zone and be on the lookout for the deer. Once the driver has cleared the warning zone, he or she can go back to driving at the normal speed.
Targan & Pender, PC is a New Jersey personal injury law firm that fights for victims of auto crashes and other forms of personal injury.