“Wildlife sightings are commonplace for anyone who spends time on Virginia’s highways. But many drivers are also all too familiar with the danger that can arise quickly when animals venture into the human-made spaces crisscrossing their habitats.
Virginia drivers have a one in 74 chance of striking an animal, according to insurance statistics compiled by State Farm, a number that consistently puts Virginia among or near the top-10 most dangerous states for vehicle-animal collisions.
But state officials are hoping to change that by requiring a more thoughtful approach to how transportation infrastructure might affect wildlife.
This year, the General Assembly passed legislation to create a Wildlife Corridor Action Plan, an effort to identify hotspots and recommend crossing projects – such as overpasses or underpasses – that might make life easier for both animals and humans.
It’s also projected to save money spent to repair damaged cars. Currently, collisions with deer alone cost an average of around $533 million per year, according to the state.
‘This thing just wins on so many levels,’ Sen. Dave Marsden, D-Fairfax, one of the bill’s patrons, said as he presented the proposal to the legislature in February.”