Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
Even when there are no other cars on the road, drivers are still vulnerable to collision risks, like wandering wildlife. In Utah, over 300 deer carcasses have been found along a 30-mile stretch of U.S. 191 over the course of a year. To cut down on deer-related auto collisions, the Utah Department of Transportation is conducting a pilot in which roadside units, set up along a 1.5-mile section of U.S. 191, will set off lights and sounds when a car approaches. These alarms are intended to distract deer and other animals, keeping them off the road while drivers pass by. UDOT will also install camera that will observe how wildlife reacts to the units. Since the pilot’s launch in early May, there have been no reported carcasses in the test area, but officials insist it is too early to draw any substantial conclusions or determine any future expansion. The same deer-deterrence system is used in areas of New Jersey and Colorado.