UC Davis researchers released a new report tagging the stretch of Interstate 280 between Cupertino on the Peninsula and San Bruno as the worst location in California in terms of road accidents with wildlife.
The report said that the stretch of the roadway had witnessed the most – and the most catastrophic – collisions involving vehicles and wildlife in California, San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Interstate 280 has witnessed the five among the top 20 costliest 1-mile segments of the road for vehicle-wildlife collisions. Yearly, fatal incidents on 31 miles of the stretch hit an amount of $5.8 million. This translated to about $188, 000 per mile annually.
The collisions involving vehicles and wildlife also result in serious injuries and even deaths.
The report cited data from the California Highway Patrol saying that there were over 44, 000 wildlife accidents involving huge mammals across California from the 2016 to 2020 period.
Furthermore, the report said that State Farm Insurance recorded a yearly estimate of 22, 000 claims in the state for accidents involving deer. The claims can even be higher as some were left unreported.
Pacific newts, whose population is already decreasing, were also found to be involved in road collisions. The animal is already at risk to become extinct locally. Each winter and spring, 4, 000 to 5, 000 Pacific newts are killed when they pass by the Alma Bridge Road in Los Gatos.
State legislators are being urged by UC Davis researchers to pass a bill that “protects wildlife movement by requiring retrofit of existing and proposed new or expanded infrastructure to allow wildlife passage” in a bid to address wildlife deaths.
The mitigation to shield both the motorists and wildlife populations is being developed by the UC Davis Road Ecology Center with assistance from Caltrans.
Among the measures listed by the report to offer safe wildlife passage is the installment of fencing, overpasses or underpasses along priority roads. Added to this, it also mentioned the speed limit reduction among motorists when passing by protected wildlife habitat to avoid vehicle-wildlife collisions.