The Ohio State Highway Patrol recently released a warning to drivers about the increased risk of deer-related crashes in November, but they may want to release a warning for free roaming cows.
Parts of State Route 32 near Peebles, Ohio were closed Friday evening for a brief period of time after a car struck two cows.
According to reports, Kyle Taylor, 22 of Adams County was driving westbound when three unattended cows appeared in front of his vehicle. Taylor was able to miss the third cow. No serious inquiries were reported, other than the livestock.
Livestock owners and keepers in Ohio now have less risk of automatic liability when their animals escape enclosures and run loose on public roadways or the property of others. The Ohio legislature has revised the “animals running at large” law to clarify two different standards for criminal and civil liability under the law. The law was sponsored by former State Rep. Danny Bubp in 2011 and passed by the Ohio General Assembly.
Criminal liability occurs only when proven that a livestock operator behaved “recklessly” in allowing the animals to run loose. Under Ohio law, a person behaves recklessly when he or she perversely disregards a known risk of his or her conduct, with heedless indifference to the consequences of that conduct. For example, a livestock owner who sees but intentionally ignores a downed fence where cattle graze near a roadway could be deemed “reckless.”
Although, the likelihood of hitting a cow in rural Adams County is rare, the likelihood of hitting a deer is not.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol warns that deer are most active around dawn and dusk. During these times, drivers should scan the road and shoulders ahead, and use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic.
“Motorists must always be vigilant and ready to react to any situation,” said Ohio State Highway Patrol Superintendent, Colonel Richard Fambro . “If you see a deer in the roadway, slow down, but do not swerve. If you strike a deer, move to a safe place, turn your hazard lights on and report the accident.”
In November nearly 3,800 deer-related crashes were reported, and 18,200 for the whole year.