AUGUSTA, Maine -- Moose are on the move this time of year, and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife urges motorists to drive carefully in order to avoid colliding with Maine's largest mammal.
"Motorists need to be aware of the threat that Moose present on Maine's roadways," said Roland D. Martin, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. "Their movements are unpredictable, and this is the time of year when moose are moving the most."
Moose -- vehicle collisions are no longer limited to northern or rural Maine, they can and do happen anywhere in the state. Collisions have occurred in areas such as Portland, Lewiston-Auburn and Bangor - Maine's three largest communities, as well as rural and wooded areas.
The state averages approximately 700 moose-vehicle collisions annually, with about 150 of those resulting in human injury. Each year, 2-3 people die from moose collisions, causing millions of dollars in property damage. Last year, four vehicle fatalities involved moose collisions. Most collisions occur between 7:00 p.m. and midnight.
"We have been working hard with other agencies and on educational programs to decrease the number of moose vehicle collisions," said Martin. "However, it is important for drivers to be aware and attentive, especially at night, which is when most crashes occur."
In order to lessen the number of moose vehicle accidents, IFW has increased the number of moose hunting permits in high risk collision areas such as northeastern Aroostook county, as well as opening more areas to hunting. Hunting is the primary tool to control Maine's moose population. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife also works with other agencies such as the Department of Transportation, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Public Safety to reduce the number of collisions. Driver's education courses in the state now inform drivers on how to avoid collisions, and this interagency group also produced a safety video called "Hidden Hazards" which was distributed to all driver education instructors. The group also is currently evaluating several collision reduction methods on roads in Maine and Moose crossing signs are placed in the highest risk areas.
Moose collisions can happen anywhere in the state, so when you are traveling this spring, in order to mimimize your chances of hitting a moose, please:
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