When drivers think of roadkill, they usually assume that it involves small animals struck by vehicles and found on roadsides and ditches. The Bay Area of California can see motor vehicle operators hitting smaller animals such as squirrels and birds. However, they also risk crashing into larger mountain lions, bighorn sheep, and bears.
A specific highway is well known for collisions that can result in the death of not only wildlife but also drivers and their passengers.
A deadly stretch of road
According to the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Interstate 280 between San Bruno and Cupertino has become infamous as the Golden State’s deadliest stretch of road. Damages and cleanup costs are approaching $6 million annually.
Since 2016, crashes involving motor vehicles and animals cost an estimated one to two billion dollars in state funding, based on information from the U.S. Department of Transportation. More than 40 species were killed. Larger mammals were particularly vulnerable, with 300 cougars and 557 black bears losing their lives.
Bridges are particularly treacherous for one specific species. Santa Clara County is home to pacific newts migrating from their forest to Lexington Reservoir and back following reproduction. Alma Bridge Road, in particular, has seen approximately 5,000 killed by motor vehicles annually.
Solutions to the overall problem may take the form of dedicated bridges currently under consideration for animals crossing highways, keeping them and drivers safe while reducing the ecological and economic impact.
While dangerous conditions present risks to everyone involved, drivers and their passengers can suffer severe and life-threatening injuries when another motor vehicle operator puts them in the path of large animals. While medical treatment comes first, the help of a personal injury attorney can help victims move on following tragic events.