The Utah Department of Transportation has launched a pilot program to test DeerDeter, a deer-vehicle collision system. DeerDeter is a U.S. joint venture between Jafa Technologies and Austrian-based IPTE.

In addition to 70 units purchased by UDOT at a reduced price, another 30 were provided free of charge to facilitate deployment over an expanded test area.

The 100 deployed units are activated by approaching headlights to set off a sound and strobe light that represents movement to the encroaching animal. This dual-sensory roadside technology deters deer from continuing across the road as they stop to assess and evaluate the unusual sound and flashing light. Since the unit is activated only by an approaching vehicle, animals are not prompted to stop and pause at times when they do not present a danger to traffic, thus allowing their safe travel along preferred routes. The units can be reprogrammed with different sounds to avoid animals becoming used to a certain sound.

Chet Johnson, local roadway operations supervisor for UDOT in Monticello, is the test manager and selected the area for deployment. The specified 1.5-mile test area has experienced a significant number of reported carcasses and is part of a larger 30-mile stretch of Highway 191 where wildlife migration is common, with as many as 300 carcasses reported in a single year. The specified test area for deployment had more than 130 carcasses reported from 2005 through 2009. This number does not account for those accidents that do not result in a dead animal or where the animal dies away from the roadside.

UDOT is deploying infrared-activated cameras at some locations to record and evaluate how the animal reacts to the unit through observation. There have been no reported carcasses in the test area since the units were deployed in early May, but UDOT has not drawn any conclusions.

More info: