A lot of car accidents are caused by animals each year. A massive summer mayfly swarm was blamed for a three-car accident near Red Wing, Minnesota. The crash left one woman hospitalized. The Star Tribune (7.22.14) reported that billions of the short-lived mayflies had swept across the Mississippi River Valley. The air was so thick with the insects that they appeared on weather radar as a minor rain squall. The bugs also caused a “huge, slimy mess.” The mayfly hatch had started approximately two hours before the accident. Theresa L. Hunt, 24, lost control of her on the slickened roadway as the “blizzard-like flurry of insects cut visibility,” reported the Star Tribune. Her car hit another car and then a van. Hunt was slightly injured, and Cynthia Pauly, 51, a passenger in one of the hit vehicles, was taken to Mayo Hospital for treatment of undetermined injuries. Whether or not a driver will be excused for getting in a car accident caused by an animal depends on the circumstances of each case. Questions such as the following will likely be asked:
- Was the driver distracted at the time of the accident?
- Was the driver speeding?
- Was the road known for having animals or insects on it, and should the driver have been driving more carefully on account of that known risk?
Mayflies swarm a few times each summer to mate and hatch. According to the Star Tribune, another giant mayfly swarm caused collisions two summers ago. Snowplows were needed for cleanup duty, and the lights on a bridge had to be turned off to keep the bugs away. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles reported there were 23,255 vehicular crashes caused by animals in 2012. Four of these accidents were fatal and 2214 caused injuries. In the United States, deer are the most common animals hit on the roadways. Hitting large animals such as these can result in the animal’s death, property damage, and human injury and-or death. According to facts and figures cited by Defenders of Wildlife, there are 725,000 to 1.5 million wildlife-vehicle collisions in the U.S. annually. These accidents result in over 200 human fatalities per year and over a billion dollars in property damage. The term “deer-vehicle collision” is commonly annotated throughout safety agencies as DVC. The Star Tribune story cited is “Massive mayfly swarm blamed in 3-car accident near Red Wing.”