Animal Accidents In The New Forest

Animal Accidents

We had a discussion at the National Park Authority today about what could be done to try and halt the alarming number of incidents involving animals and cars on New Forest roads.

Clearly, all members feel that even one incident is one too many, but the increased numbers of incidents is also a reflection of the fact that there are high numbers of animals out on the New Forest at the moment.

Looked at as a percentage, the figures aren’t quite so bad.

Most of the incidents happen at night and speed is usually a factor.

There are particular roads where incidents occur time and time again.

The measures already undertaken seem to have been effective.

We were told that the reflective collars fitted to some horses do work, as do the road safety campaigns and the signage warning of “high risk of animal incidents”.

In time, technology will cut incidents, when cars are fitted with forward motion detectors and automatic braking systems.

In the shorter term, in additional to the current speed enforcement measures undertaken by the police, it seems likely that Average speed cameras will be employed on the higher risk roads, subject to a feasibility study.

The stark reality is that all the different agencies need to be working together.

The National Park cannot control what happens on the roads.
The Highways Authority, Hampshire County Council, now has only limited capacity (due to cuts) and is tending to prioritise human casualty reduction across the whole of the county.

The police too have only limited capacity to assist.

Nothing that all these organisations do, solves the problem of individual drivers speeding and not taking sufficient care to watch out for animals.

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