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Pigs are the leading cause of animal-vehicle collisions in Hawaiʻi

vlod007 / Flickr
vlod007 / Flickr

The national average of animal collisions increased by 7.2% from July of 2020 to this past June — and Hawaiʻi considerably surpasses that number.

Car accidents involving hitting animals increased by 36.1% in Hawaiʻi during the pandemic, according to national research by State Farm Insurance company. The research was conducted for all insured cars, and not just drivers under State Farm Insurance.

Deer are the most common animals involved in car accidents — in most states except Hawaiʻi. Here, pigs were involved in the most vehicle accidents, with nearly 400 pigs hit in Hawaiʻi in the past year.

The pigs involved in animal collisions include both wild boars and domesticated pigs who escape.

Pigs are followed by "unidentified animals" — meaning animals who are hit and run away before being able to be identified. Dogs are the third most commonly hit animals in Hawaiʻi vehicle collisions.

Jordi Ortega, the spokesperson for State Farm Insurance, explains, "One of the things that was observed is that drivers drove way faster during the pandemic."

"The other thing that happened more recently within the pandemic is that more vehicles began to be back on the road. With more vehicles back on the road, more likelihood of hitting animals that will be on the road," Ortega told HPR.

A study in the Scientific Reports journal about wildlife‑vehicle collision rates during the pandemic says the pandemic has changed animal behavior.

Decreased traffic volume likely increased road use by wildlife — leading to increased collision rates.

The best way to prevent a collision is to stay alert and slow down when there are animals nearby.

Drivers should be especially mindful of animals on the road between dawn and dusk when animals go searching for food.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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