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48 animal road deaths recorded in the New Forest so far this year
DRIVERS are being urged to take extra care when driving across the New Forest this winter in a bid to halt the startling rise in pony and cattle road deaths.
There have been 48 animal traffic deaths so far this year, up to 30 September, an increase of 20 per cent compared to the same period in 2012. During winter’s shorter daylight hours animals will be even more vulnerable. Organisations represented on the New Forest Animal Accident Reduction Group have implemented a range of safety plans in an effort to reduce the number of incidents, including:
- Reflective pony collars n Traffic calming, including pinch points
- Changing road signs, designed to catch the attention of regular road users
- Speed enforcement by the police on known high-risk routes n Publicity and education of the dangers posed by roaming ponies and cattle.
Nigel Matthews, Community and Visitor Services Manager at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: “After the clocks have changed, many of us will be driving home in the dark and therefore be at greater risk of colliding with an animal.
“A lot of ponies wear reflective collars but many don’t, and of course you won’t see a collar if the pony is facing away from you.
“Look carefully ahead for any animals on or beside the road.
“They have no road sense, so expect them to step in front of you at the last moment. Drive slowly enough so you can be sure you can stop, especially if there is traffic coming the other way.
“It’s not just the animals that are at risk in an accident. If the driver is speeding the results could be catastrophic for their passengers and vehicle too.”
If you witness or are involved in an accident involving a pony, donkey, cow, pig or sheep, call the police (999 for an emergency or 101 if it’s not an emergency). Animal emergency hotline cards also give you the numbers to call if you see sick, injured or distressed animals. Cards are available from garages and Local Information Points across the New Forest. To stock the cards contact the New Forest National Park Authority at enquiries@new forestnpa.gov.uk
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