Scotland tops British road kill league

ANIMALS pose a greater risk to drivers in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK, according to figures published today.

The statistics, based on the analysis of 1.3 million insurance claims over the past five years, show that the five postcode areas with the highest number of crashes involving wildlife are all north of the Border.

Inverness is the British roadkill capital, followed by Perth, Dumfries, Orkney and Aberdeen.

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The study found drivers are up to 34 times more likely to hit an animal in the IV4 postcode area than elsewhere.

Its revelations follow campaigns on the A82, A9, A835 and A87 trunk roads to warn motorists to be aware of deer roaming the carriageways.

The Deer Commission for Scotland estimates that up to 10,000 collisions involving deer happen each year.

In 2008, Dana-Leigh Trigger, a dental hygienist from Banchory, died after she swerved to avoid a deer on the road.

Animal strikes cause damage costing 1,428.77 on average, and the toll is estimated to cost the insurance industry a total of 20 million in pay-outs each year across the UK, including 7m in Scotland on deer-crash damage alone.

Brian Martin, the managing director of the online insurer, which conducted the analysis, said: "Not surprisingly, Scots were the most likely to hit an animal, as you would expect to find more wild and farm animals in more rural areas."

Jamie Hammond, deer officer for the Deer Commission for Scotland, said accidents were at their peak at this time of year, because dusk and peak commuting times coincide.

"Deer are more likely to be feeding near or on road verges at this time," he said. "We urge motorists to slow down and watch for deer crossing in front of traffic."

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Inverness is also one of the top five riskiest locations, along with Galashiels, for collisions involving trees, and Orkney motorists have the second-highest number of crashes involving walls.

But Orkney's KW postcode area is the least likely place to hit a tree – largely because there are so few on the windswept islands.

The online firm said premiums for drivers in high-risk postcodes were not directly affected, because the number of claims as a proportion of all settlements in any year was small.

Other animals to have sparked motoring insurance claims include badgers, horses, cows and swans.

A claim was also made after a monkey was knocked down in Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire, and one car was declared a write-off after a startled motorist swerved to avoid a rabbit.