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Fatalities from vehicle crashes with deer and other animals have more than doubled over the last 15 years, according to a new study by an auto insurance-funded highway safety group that cites urban sprawl overlapping into deer habitat.

The report by the Highway Loss Data Institute found that 223 people died in animal-vehicle crashes last year, up from 150 in 2000 and 101 in 1993.

Since 1993, Texas had the most deaths from such crashes, with 227, followed by Wisconsin with 123 and Pennsylvania with 112.

The Highway Loss Data Institute and its sister organization, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, looked at both insurance claims and federal crash data. According to the report, most accidents involving animals are with deer.

"Urban sprawl means suburbia and deer habitat intersect in many parts of the country," said Kim Hazelbaker, the Highway Loss Data Institute's senior vice president. "If you're driving in areas where deer are prevalent, the caution flag is out, especially in November."


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