New Study Looks at Vehicle-Versus-Animal Crashes in Placerville

Vehicle-Versus-Animal Car Accidents

A recent report from the University of California at Davis (UCD) determined that vehicle-versus-animal crashes throughout our state have been costing taxpayers quite a bit of money. 

The report looked at areas surrounding Sacramento, including the section of Highway 50 from Sacramento to Placerville, which is a hotspot for roadkill accidents. The report also included portions of Interstate 80, and another key area for vehicle-versus-animal collisions, Highway 49.  

The study was conducted by UCD’s Road Ecology Center. The director of that department remarked that the abundance of wildlife in California combined with a large amount of cars results in a high number of animals being killed.

Why are Animals in the Road?

One of the issues that the report looked at is why so many animals were ending up on roads where vehicle traffic exists. They then examined ways in which to keep animals away from those areas.

Two key aspects of the problem were identified. For one, construction and roads are being built in areas where the animals live. Secondly, conditions caused by years of drought have been pushing animals from their homes in search of water and food.

Potential Solution: Wildlife Crossings

One potential way to address the problem is to build protected roads or bridges across the hotspot highways that would allow animals to walk from where they live during summer to their winter habitats. Fencing the highways to keep animals away would also be a big help. 

The University has plans for building such animal crossings, but they first have to convince legislators to provide the funding. They figure that the best way to do this is to illustrate how much money vehicle-versus-wildlife accidents cost. The report estimates that such collisions have resulted in approximately $2 billion in costs over a five-year period in California. This number is comprised of money spent on property damage, emergency response, and insurance payouts that result from these collisions. The researchers are hoping that by focusing on how much money is spent addressing wildlife crashes, lawmakers will agree to reallocate some of the money currently being used to expand the highways to fund safe animal crossings.

Watch the YouTube video. The clip below, posted by Vox, discusses wildlife crossings.

Automobile Accidents Involving Livestock

Not all animals that are struck by vehicles qualify as wildlife. In Placerville and other regions throughout Northern California, many animals that are loose in the road have owners, meaning they are either pets or livestock. Small pets rarely cause serious injury accidents, but large animals such as cattle often do. Owners of livestock have the responsibility of controlling their animals so that they do not wander onto roads. This responsibility entails securely fencing one’s property and/or confining the animals.

Unlike with wildlife like a coyote or deer, when a vehicle owner hits livestock, there is a potential defendant in any resulting legal matter – the owner of the animal. Proving negligence in a livestock car accident can be complex, and the motorist would benefit from consulting with an experienced livestock accident attorney, particularly if the accident caused injuries. 

Placerville Personal Injury Lawyers

Hello, I’m Ed Smith, a Placerville personal injury lawyer. Thanks for visiting our legal blog and reading our report on vehicle-versus-animal crashes. The experienced injury lawyers at have been advocates for injured Placerville residents for decades. We handle automobile accidents caused by driver negligence, livestock accidents, and wrongful death matters on behalf of grieving families. If you or a loved one has been harmed in an accident caused by another person’s carelessness or recklessness, call us: (530) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400. We are happy to offer free and friendly legal advice.

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