Police efforts to reducing the worrying number of animal-related motor accidents in England’s New Forest have been stepped up.
Hampshire police began the campaign on October 1. It says one of its speed enforcement officers will be using new technology to reduce the accident toll.
The operation was sparked by concerned at the number of livestock killed or injured on the unfenced roads across the forest.
The New Forest Commoners’ Defence Association has developed a project in partnership with the New Forest Verderers and Agisters and Hampshire Police to highlight the dangers on key routes through the forest, especially at dusk and dawn.
Officers will primarily work on routes which have been identified due to human casualties or animal deaths in the past.
In 2013, 72 animals were killed in road traffic collisions in the New Forest and a further 32 were injured.
It is hoped that the number of driver casualties and animals that are killed or injured will be reduced by the new initiative.
Hampshire Constabulary Road Safety Sergeant Rob Heard said he was pleased the police were able to provide a dedicated resource to tackle the problem.
Head agister Jonathan Gerrelli said: “Autumn is an especially important time of year as it gets dark earlier in the evening and some drivers may not realise that the number of accidents involving animals on rural roads will increase because of that.”
Drivers can avoid collisions involving animals on roads in the New Forest by:
- Taking note of warning signs.
- Keeping their speed down – it’s 40mph for a reason in areas like the New Forest. Drivers should be prepared to reduce their speed according to the visibility.
- Being especially aware at dusk and dawn and keeping an eye out for more than one animal crossing the road at a time.
- Using headlights on high beam if there is no oncoming traffic and dipping them quickly when oncoming traffic appears.