April 1, 2013
KANSAS CITY – A bold MoDOT program to teach Missouri’s half-million deer population about highway safety has failed to gain traction with the antlered (and antlerless) throughout the state.
For decades, MoDOT has placed deer crossing signs along the state’s more than 33,600 miles of highways in the hope that deer will see the signs and understand they are to cross at the signs and nowhere else. The program got off to a rocky start when maintenance workers placed the signs facing oncoming traffic on the highway, thinking the signs were meant to be viewed by motorists.
While MoDOT has reported some limited success in slowing vehicle/deer collisions, these wild ruminants often ignore the signs and dart onto highways far from designated deer crossing areas, often to their demise. Their ignorance and impetuous actions also threaten the lives and property of motorists.
Despite the deer’s stubborn resistance to recognize “deer crossing” signs and learn the most basic command, MoDOT believes some aspects of the program continue to have value. The investment throughout the state on the iconic “deer crossing” signs won’t be wasted. Rather it is hoped that motorists themselves will see the signs and be reminded that deer have been seen in the area and may attempt to cross the highway at any point, even where the signs aren’t present.
“We hope that the public won’t be fooled into thinking that deer will only cross where they see the signs,” said MoDOT District Engineer Dan Niec. “We think most people get it.”
For more information about other MoDOT projects, please visit MoDOT’s website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. In case you couldn’t tell, MoDOT emailed the media an April Fool’s joke and Northeast News decided to share it. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter or send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.